The Least, First

Monte Asbury's blog

Amazing Falkirk Wheel replaces 11 boat-lifting locks

with 2 comments

OK, this is not exactly “Least, First” theme material.  But this dazzling canal lock story from Treehugger.com is too good to pass up.

Trace the traffic in the photo: Boats enter from the pool in the foreground (through the semi-circle) or the canal in the background (across the bridge), then ride the wheel—in a tray gizmo full of water—upstream or down. Yes, those tiny little windowy things way down at the bottom are the boats – pleasure barges.

Spawned by a design competition, the wheel’s balance is so perfect that it uses (with each four-minute rotation) only about as much electricity as it might take to boil a few tea-kettles.

clipped from www.treehugger.com

falkirk wheel overall photo

falkirk wheel animation
When I showed the amazing Peterborough lift lock, a commenter and Kottke both pointed out that the Falkirk Wheel in Scotland goes higher, faster. It was built as part of an attempt to regenerate canals in central Scotland, and replaces 11 locks that had fallen into disuse. It also is another example of the clever and original results that come from design competitions- it is now a serious attraction.
Like Peterborough, it relies on Archimedes principle to stay balanced; the weight of the boat displaces the same weight of water.

falkirk ring gear photo
The British government made a big investment in their canal system, (£17.5 million on the Wheel, £84.5 million on the canal revitalization). Unlike the proprietors of the Erie Canal in the States, they see that canals have a role to play in tourism and transportation.

falkirk wheel panorama photo
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Zow, that is neat.  Wanna go?

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2 Responses

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  1. The Victorians werre full of inventive ideas ans some of the great systems and lifting bridges around the canal system are testement to that. I think they would be in awe of this though. What a great achievement.

    John Barnett

    July 14, 2009 at 5:10 am

  2. That is so right on we need some of these in the good old USA Canals are so green! Move material and people!

    Leroy

    June 6, 2009 at 3:06 pm


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