Sunday, 5 July 2015

St Pancras to Waterloo : A Week's Holiday (2)

Taking the Lift : a Usual fbb Policy!
fbb does not own shares in Ffestiniog Travel, nor has he ever travelled with that particular tour company; but Northampton correspondent has. Because public transport in Belgium is less well known than other "trans-Manche" offerings, we are taking a brief look at the above recent tour. For days 1 to 5 inclusive, see yesterday's blog (here).

Sloping Lock? It serves a similar purpose to a much smaller boat lift somewhere north of Hadrians Wall. But at Ronquières the "giant bathtub" ...
... is hauled up an inclined plane.
The Ronquières Inclined Plane is a Belgian canal inclined plane on the Brussels-Charleroi Canal in the province of Hainaut in Wallonia that opened in April 1968 after a six-year construction period. It is located in the municipality of Braine-le-Comte, and takes its name from the nearby village of Ronquières. The purpose of the construction was to reduce the delays imposed by the 14 locks (already reduced from 16 in the 19th century) which had hitherto been needed for the canal to follow the local topography.
Eat your heart out, Falkirk Wheel; you ain't seen nuttin yet!
This is the boat lift just down the road canal at Strépy-Thieu.

The boat lift was designed during the Canal du Centre's modernisation program in order to replace a system of two locks and four 16-metre lifts dating from 1888 to 1919. Construction of the new lift commenced in 1982 and was not completed until 2002, but once operational, permitted river traffic of up to the new 1350-tonne standard to pass between the waterways of the Meuse and Scheldt rivers.
The four older lifts on the Canal du Centre, which are bypassed by the new Canal du Centre, are on the UNESCO World Heritage list, because of their architectural and historical value.

It's quite difficult to grasp the size of this beast, but thid video may help. Look, for example at the size of the roads; you might even spot a minuscule car!

video

Correspondent Alan writes about Day 7.

Friday's programme was a visit to the mock battle leaving at 0830, back at the hotel c. 0030 on Saturday with lots of waiting around, crowds, possible rain and cold.

Cunning plan - back on Sunday 14th buy a €5.40 day return for trip to preserved railway at Maldegem which means you have a spare day on your Inter-rail ticket for some serious track bashing on Friday. Charleroi - Namur - Luxembourg - Liege - Brussels
 - Brussels Airport - Charleroi. 

I did go through pictured Waterloo station twice ...
... and this time it was the former embattled Waterloo!

A huge variety of steam is on show from the sublime ...
... to the ridiculous!
There are plenty of diesels and this beauty of electrical power dating from 1960.


Alan, always an observant lad, also sends three helpful pictures.


train?

cartoon character?

scuba diver?


fbb's list of "things to do before you are utterly decrepit" extends still further. Dijon, Lyon, Basel and now Belgium. Better start saving the pennies.

But, one week late, the Sheffield Network proposals are published tomorrow. They may well be surprises ahead.

But first : loopiness in Chatham.

 Next bus blog : Monday 6th July 

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