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Montgomery Canal Restoration Work Party Report - November 2008

November 1 & 2

 

The November work party brought the 2008 restoration season to a successful conclusion by achieving some notable goals. The loss of most of the hand tools, generators and pumps in the break-in at the containers some ten days before was not allowed to spoil the event. The losses had surprisingly little impact on the actual work since the essential ones were immediately replaced. The opportunity will be taken in due course to reassess what tools are now required - the fact that we have a digger, for example, means that fewer picks and spades are required.

Substantial progress was made on all sections of the work due to good weather (again!) and a big attendance - 47 over the weekend. Those volunteers who stayed over also had a very pleasant meal on Saturday night which rounded off the year nicely. The stars of the show over the weekend were undoubtedly the large gang on mortar production and transport duties. They worked constantly, producing four different mixes to order (concrete or mortar with either cement or lime) and shifting it around a site that is now nearly 300 metres long. The organisation of this was complicated. At the Redwith end of the site for example, a complete bay of six metres of the blockwork for the offside retaining wall was finished using cement mortar. It was then partially filled with concrete. Subsequently the stone facing of the adjacent bay was finished using lime mortar and then backfilled with stone and limecrete! The picture shows the new blockwork wall being constructed.

Elsewhere construction was thankfully rather more straightforward. Considerable progress was made on excavation for the offside retaining wall despite having to cart the spoil some 250 metres. The majority of the vertical wall around the culvert is now up to first course and is beginning to look most impressive. The batter wall is now finished to half way (that is 207 metres from Redwith) and is substantially finished all the way to the culvert. This section of wall has required a considerable amount of extra work to account for the deviation of the piling in this area but the results are worth it. At the junction of the batter and vertical walls large stone blocks are used. The blocks retrieved from Rednal tip for the present job were clearly at one time tramway sleepers. It is interesting to speculate as to whether they came from a tramway on the canal.

We started the year facing the daunting task of tackling a much larger project than the Society has attempted in the recent past and one which contains some sizable bits of new construction. However by a combination of devising efficient methods of doing the various tasks and using more machines, over 50% of the project is now complete. Not bad for a group of volunteers!

 

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Construction of retaining wall View from Redwith Bridge
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Excavation for retaining wall Vertical wall at culvert
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The official halfway point! Tramway sleeper
Last Month Next Time

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