Foxton Inclined Plane

Foxton Inclined Plane


Market Harborough, United Kingdom (GB)
In 1900 an inclined plane was built to the side of the locks. The aim was partly to speed up the passage of boats, but also as part of an effort to allow the passage of wide-beam barges instead of just narrowboats.

It was designed by Gordon Cale Thomas and had 2 tanks or caissons, each capable of holding 2 narrowboats or a barge. The caissons were full of water, and so balanced each other. The lift was powered by a 25 horsepower (19 kW) stationary engine. The land for the project was purchased for £1,595 and with the entire project costing £39,244 by 24 June 1900.

The inclined plane had a journey time of 12 minutes for 2 boats up and 2 down and improved the speed of passage up the hill tremendously. Unlike the locks, where water flowed downhill every time a boat passed through, on the inclined plane almost the same amount of water went up and down the hill. Only the displaced water is moved, thus saving a great deal of water and giving better control of this vital resource.

There was a plan to build a similar inclined plane at the Watford Locks at the southern end of the canal's summit level. However, this was never carried through, and as the Watford Locks were never widened, the economic benefits of the plane could not be fully realised. Thus, despite its obvious effectiveness, the Foxton Inclined Plane was mothballed in 1911 to save money. After that date it saw occasional use when the locks were undergoing maintenance.

In 1927, dismantling of the incline began, so that it could be sold for scrap. That year the chimney on the engine house was demolished and its bricks used for various canal repairs.

The plane today:
The remains of the plane can still be seen, and the site explored by visitors (to a limited extent).

In the building alongside the locks, the former boiler house for the plane's steam engine, there is a small museum covering the history of the locks and the plane, and other aspects of the local canal.

The mooring bollards from the incline can be found alongside the locks.
In 1900 an inclined plane was built to the side of the locks. The aim was partly to speed up the passage of boats, but also as part of an effort to allow the passage of wide-beam barges instead of just narrowboats.

It was designed by Gordon Cale Thomas and had 2 tanks or caissons, each capable of holding 2 narrowboats or a barge. The caissons were full of water, and so balanced each other. The lift was powered by a 25 horsepower (19 kW) stationary engine. The land for the project was purchased for £1,595 and with the entire project costing £39,244 by 24 June 1900.

The inclined plane had a journey time of 12 minutes for 2 boats up and 2 down and improved the speed of passage up the hill tremendously. Unlike the locks, where water flowed downhill every time a boat passed through, on the inclined plane almost the same amount of water went up and down the hill. Only the displaced water is moved, thus saving a great deal of water and giving better control of this vital resource.

There was a plan to build a similar inclined plane at the Watford Locks at the southern end of the canal's summit level. However, this was never carried through, and as the Watford Locks were never widened, the economic benefits of the plane could not be fully realised. Thus, despite its obvious effectiveness, the Foxton Inclined Plane was mothballed in 1911 to save money. After that date it saw occasional use when the locks were undergoing maintenance.

In 1927, dismantling of the incline began, so that it could be sold for scrap. That year the chimney on the engine house was demolished and its bricks used for various canal repairs.

The plane today:
The remains of the plane can still be seen, and the site explored by visitors (to a limited extent).

In the building alongside the locks, the former boiler house for the plane's steam engine, there is a small museum covering the history of the locks and the plane, and other aspects of the local canal.

The mooring bollards from the incline can be found alongside the locks.
View in Google Earth Historical, Canals
Links: en.wikipedia.org
By: Dania

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