Saturday, April 15, 2017

Welland Canal Overview

Actually, there were four Welland Canals because navigating down the Niagara Escarpment that creates the Niagara Falls was very important before railroads were developed. Boats had to descend 326 feet [WellandLibrary] from Lake Erie to Lake Ontario. The following table that summarizes the canals is from WellandCanal-history. Please reference that link for details concerning the four canals. And GreatLakes-Seaway has maps of the four canals.

Welland Canal Facts First
Number Of Locks 40 27 26 8
Width Of Locks 6.7m 8.1m 13.7m 24.4m
Length Of Locks 33.5m 45.7m 82.3m 261.8m
Depth Of Canal 2.4m 2.7m 4.3m 8.2m

Converting the numbers for the Fourth Canal from meters to feet gives us 859' x 80' x 27', which we can compare to the St. Lawrence Seaway that was built in 1959 at 740' x 78' x 26.5'. [Canal Dimensions] The current depth of the canal has been increased to 30'.

Satellite images: Lock 1, Lock 2, St. Catharines Museum & Welland Canals Centre and Lock 3, Twin Flight Locks (Locks 4-6), Lock 7, and Lock 8
Locks: 1*, 2*, 3 and 4-7* (An asterisk indicates that there is also one or two Scherzer rolling bridges.)
Bridges: 4A, 5, 1121 and lost Port Robinson
Two Tunnels.

This greatlakes-seaway  reference has a history of the four canals with a map for each canal. Below is the most recent map showing the 1973 by-pass canal. I learned that two tunnels carry all the land transport (road and rail) under the by-pass canal. There is also a syphon that carries the Welland River under the new canal that can handle 12,000 cubic feet (340m3) of water per second.

Some photos of the flight have been moved from here to the 4-7 notes. But I kept a copy here as a nice overview.
[This reference has maps of all four canals and some more pictures of today's canal.]

Screenshot, they are indeed colliding. The red ship lost steering. [DeBruler]

Janey Anderson posted five photos with the comment:
The Welland Canal connects Lake Erie to Lake Ontario. The locks lift and lower ships with the help of gravity and large quantities of water. The force of gravity is used to fill or drain a lock moving about 20 million gallons of water in about 11 minutes. It is this movement of water that actually lifts or lowers a ship in a lock. the Upper Lakes are a lot higher above sea level than Lake Ontario so ships must be lifted to Lake Erie as they move through the Welland Canal.
The 43 kilometre canal and the locks from Lock 7 down to Lock 1, are routinely drained during the winter months when the canal closes for infrastructure inspection and maintenance/repair in order to keep the flow of boat traffic moving throughout the shipping season. (*Remember that - Locks 1–7 are 'Lift' locks; Lock 8 is a "Control" Lock with a lift of just a few feet.
How does it work?
The canal typically closes by Dec. 31 but, as part of a pilot program, the season was extended to allow the canal to run for an extra week for the past 2 years.
Then the water is removed from the canal. If ice has formed on the lock, then the water will drain slower while the ice is flushed during the draining process.
The canal is 9.1 metres deep over the sill and 8.2 metres deep in channels. Each of seven lifts locks has an average lift of 14.2 metres, while Lock 8 at Lake Erie is a control lock with a shallow lift ranging from 0.3 to 1.2 metres. The locks, from breast wall to gate fender, are 24.4 metres wide and 233.5 metres long.
Some of the biggest repair work that occurs includes major maintenance at the valves, gates and flight locks. Another major job will be replacing sliding walls that ships rub along to direct themselves into the lock. The $12-million project started last year but due to how big the project is, will be completed over a two year span.
The decommissioning process starts after the last ship, which is usually a Coast Guard (CCGS Griffon) vessel that lands and secures buoys, enters the canal. The dewatering team then follows the ship either upbound to Lake Erie or downbound heading to Lake Ontario and starts the draining process. As the vessel leaves each lock, the valves and gates at that lock are then electrically shut off.
The canal is drained from Lock 7 up to Lock 1 at Lakeshore Road (with the run off going into Lake Ontario). The channel, from Lock 7 leading up to Lock 8 at Lake Erie, doesn’t have any operating equipment, so that portion isn’t drained. The city of St. Catharines and Ontario Power Generation also draw some water off from the channel.
There are large waterways between certain locks that are called a “reach.” The reaches act as a buffer to allow the water in the canal to raise and lower ships.
These reaches are drained through the locks at the end of navigation season and then filled again when the shipping season starts again in March.
The ideal rate of draining is two and a half to three inches per hour. If the water is lowered faster, it may cause channel banks to slide or collapse. A fast drainage can also create an air bubble that will reach the charge valves, about 24 metres down, which will then come up all the way up the valve house, create blowback and move the steel roof weighing from six to eight tonnes.
The rewatering process – refilling the canal for the shipping season – starts at Lock 7 in March and takes about three days.
Source: Niagara Now - Draining the Canal for the Icy Season 01/20
*As an added point of interest - the Welland Canal also produces it's own electricity - during the original construction of the locks, weirs were built to regulate the water levels. Two of these structures, Locks 1 and 2, were spilling water at a rate of 20m3 a second.
Recognizing that they could convert this spilled water to generate green energy, the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation asked Hatch and Rankin Renewable Power to design and construct generating units within each of Locks 1 and 2. The two 2-MW plants altogether generate 25 GWh of green energy and offset 16,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year. (Source - Canadian Consulting Engineer - Small Hydro on the Welland Canal - Oct. 2009)





Bill Trainor posted, cropped
John D Leitch between locks one and two of the Welland Canal.
David Hallsten my God thats a homley ship. . .

I know that speeding up the video (60x according to the comments) exaggerates the movement, but it seemed to bounce back and forth as it entered the first lock. At 6:22 a rolling bridge goes up after a train passes. Plus there are some lift bridges that we see go up.

Since the bridge and living quarters is on the bow, I think that makes it an old boat. But it has been remodeled because it has a self-unloader.

Then it occurred to me to Google it. I found a site that tracks marine traffic

I was wrong. It was built in 1967 as a self-unloader. The self-unloader has been upgraded a couple of times. The discharge boom can be swung 95 degrees in both directions.
At the time of her launch, the vessel was the largest capacity self-unloading vessel on the Great Lakes. Her unique squared hull design reduced wasted space thus increasing her tonnage. Her tall wheelhouse and forward accommodations has given her the distinction of being known as the "little bank building on floats"....With the exception of the converted steamer James Norris, the vessel is now the oldest self-unloader in the Upper Lakes fleet.

Cameron Wilkes Whitehall shared two photos with the comment: "91 Years Ago Today, September 16, 1929. Lock 8 of the Welland Canal officially opens for vessel traffic."

On August 6, 1932, after dredging was completed and all restrictions were lifted, the leviathan steamship LEMOYNE, “Queen of the Lakes,” was able to transit the Welland Ship Canal. Planned for the day was an impressive Inaugural Ceremony that would put the spotlight on the capability of Canadian engineering – Setting the young country on the world stage.


I don't know where Lock #21 was, so I'll save this in these general Welland Canal notes.
Brad Wood Photography posted
Each year the Welland Canal is drained between locks 1 and 7 to conduct maintenance work and to inspect condition of the canal.   Some of the early canal system is exposed when the canal is drained. This is Lock 21 from the third canal that operated from 1881 to 1932.  This image was taken today and shows the original walls of the lock and the lower portions of the wooden gates.  There is also the remains of an old abandon vehicle that begs to tell a story!
Thorold, Ontario, Canada

A downbound time-lapse video  Since this was posted to a Great Lakes group, I presume they are traversing the Welland Canal.

Another time-lapse video. Many comments correct the incorrect description that this is of the Panama Channel.

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