Liverpool canal link opens

This from today’s Daily Post:

It was once the city’s economic lifeline as it transported a range of merchandise to and from the thriving Liverpool docks. Now, a century after it disappeared from view, the city’s historic canal link has been restored after a £22m project. But this time, rather than produce such as wool, coal and grain, it is hoped the link will deliver 200,000 extra visitors to the city.

The first flotilla of narrowboats passed in front of the world-famous Three Graces yesterday, to mark the opening of the new waterway. It allows boats to navigate the 127-mile Leeds-Liverpool Canal direct to the Pier Head, and it cuts a course through the World Heritage Site in front of the Three Graces, and allows boaters to access Salthouse Dock via two locks. It is hoped the new facility will open up the city’s waterfront to the previously untapped leisure and tourism industry on Britain’s 2,200-mile UK canal system.

It was the silver link which created the pot of gold for industrial Lancashire’s wealth. The Leeds and Liverpool Canal allowed coal and raw cotton to be carried in bulk into the county’s mill-land.

Just as vitally, it transported the finished textiles and goods back into Liverpool for shipment across the world.   But all this was a long time ago, with regular freight sailings finishing about 30 years ago.

Nothing like this has been built in canal engineering since before the war.  This will breathe unprecedented life into the waterfront through the thriving canal leisure cruising business.

By creating an experience so new and exciting, it will also give a massive to boost Liverpool’s burgeoning tourism. For the first time in 194 years, canal boats from all over the country will be able to cross the world-famous Pier Head on the new link from the North Docks system to the older South Docks’ network. Previously, narrow boats specifically designed for the shallow and sheltered inland waterways had to venture out of the dock system into the Mersey to reach Albert Dock. This was because the Pier Head and the Three Graces – Royal Liver, Cunard and the Port of Liverpool Buildings – were constructed on redundant docks, blocking transit between the North and South Docks.

A completely original cut has been engineered between Princes Dock and Canning Dock. It includes several short tunnels under the Pier Head and new Museum of Liverpool. Now, in complete safety, canal craft will be able to sail back and forth to their berths in the new southerly terminus which will be in the 1832 Brunswick Dock, now home to Liverpool Marina and a very convivial turn-around destination. There are also newly-built pontoon moorings in the historic 1753 Salthouse Dock, alongside the city centre.

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