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For those interested in canals, trams and local history...

 
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Graham



Joined: 21 May 2011
Posts: 924
Location: The banks of the River Severn as it meanders through the sun dappled leafy glades of Worcestershire

PostPosted: Wed Nov 16, 2016 6:04 am    Post subject: For those interested in canals, trams and local history... Reply with quote

There is a tenuous SVR connection in that this experiment was carried out by the same company that built Stourport power station.
In 1924 there were trials of an electrically powered canal boat in Kidderminster.
There's no information on where they got their electrical supply, but I would guess it's not just coincidence that the stretch of canal chosen was right next to the tram depot, which had its own generating station.

"Electric canals, 1931" on British Pathe.
http://www.britishpathe.com/video/electric-canals/query/kidderminster

An extract from Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal by J. Ian Langford

"Embedded high in the sandstone cliff at the head of Caldwall lock is an eye-bolt, a relic of an extraordinary experiment in electric haulage. About 1924, when motor-driven boats were still something of a novelty, trials were carried out on an electrically propelled barge operating between the lock and the centre of Kidderminster.
The experiment was one of several schemes for speeding up traffic between the Midlands and the sea, via the river Severn, and this particular section was chosen because of its sharp bends and difficult bridges. Power was supplied by two overhead trolley wires with supporting poles on each side of the canal for a distance of about mile. The bases of a few poles can still be seen along the towing path and the eye-bolt anchored a support wire. The coal boat Stourport from the fleet of the Shropshire, Worcestershire and Staffordshire Electric Power Co. of Smethwick was adapted for the tests. (Soon afterwards this company built the power station at Stourport, the destination of the 'Light Run'.) The power unit was a 250 volt, 750rpm shunt wound, vertical-spindle motor driving a 10 centrifugal pump specially designed for the purpose by the Gill Propeller Co. of King's Lynn and London. Propulsion was by means of a jet of water and steering was effected by rotating the jet. (For reversing the boat, the jet was rotated through 180 degrees) A speed of 3.5mph was obtained with the power unit developing 12hp and the full rated horse-power was 18. The cost of operating the system was 1s 10d per ton-mile, said to be half that of a horse-drawn boat, and the trolley wires cost about 600 per mile. Complete success was claimed for the experiment and it aroused considerable interest at the time. However, nothing came of it and traffic on the Staffs & Worcs continued to be predominantly horse-drawn for many years."
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Graham Phillips
Acting deputy assistant junior under minion, Bewdley Wagon Department.
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threelinkdave



Joined: 22 Dec 2010
Posts: 655
Location: Stratford-upon-Avon

PostPosted: Wed Nov 16, 2016 9:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Graham,
Ican see a few practical problems in the way of expansion.

Only one set of wires meeting an electric boat coming the other way would be a problem

Going under the bridge the bargee looks to be inches from the live contact wire.

Not sure how practical the dumbell pickup was compared to trolley poles

An interesting experiment

Dave
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Dave Scott
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Graham



Joined: 21 May 2011
Posts: 924
Location: The banks of the River Severn as it meanders through the sun dappled leafy glades of Worcestershire

PostPosted: Thu Nov 17, 2016 7:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would imagine there were already established procedures for two horse drawn boats meeting, so it would have been nothing unusual to have to disconnect from the power supply briefly while passing each other.
Another guess, but it was probably a DC system, which I think is "less lethal" than AC. Even so, it does look a bit close under the bridge.
I'll see if I can find any remains of the eye bolts or posts and get some photographs when I'm next there.
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Graham Phillips
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threelinkdave



Joined: 22 Dec 2010
Posts: 655
Location: Stratford-upon-Avon

PostPosted: Thu Nov 17, 2016 8:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Graham wrote:
I would imagine there were already established procedures for two horse drawn boats meeting, so it would have been nothing unusual to have to disconnect from the power supply briefly while passing each other.
Another guess, but it was probably a DC system, which I think is "less lethal" than AC. Even so, it does look a bit close under the bridge.
I'll see if I can find any remains of the eye bolts or posts and get some photographs when I'm next there.
DC is just as lethal as AC AND AT 230Vquite enough to cause heart failure. However we are in the era of self preservation. When told not to touch the wire you did not touch it.

Take the Southern Electric. 750V DC laid next to the running rails about 6 in off the ground over which staff are expected to step. OK for the 1920s but other than its custom and practice down south you would probably not get away with it now.
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GWR5764PT



Joined: 11 Sep 2006
Posts: 610
Location: Kidderminster Station

PostPosted: Thu Nov 17, 2016 8:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It is 7 months late for April Fools!!!
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Tim Easton, an SVR volunteer (Kidderminster Station) of 10 years service! And now an on train buffet steward for 2 years.
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