The Anderton Boat lift gives access to the River Weaver 50` below the Trent & Mersey canal.
It was built in 1875 and still works much the same now as then. The main difference is that electricity now powers the rams.
Two water tanks, each containing 250 tons of water and two narrowboats, are supported on two one piece hydraulic rams.
Originally power was a steam engine driven pump, now electricity is the power source.
In 1908 the lift underwent major repairs and the hydraulic rams were replaced by gears, weights and pulleys and a lot of these are still in place today although not part of the lift operation.
The lift closed in 1983 because of corrosion and it was nearly 20 yrs later it was restored. Restoration took the form of re introducing hydraulic rams as originaly used but electric power to drive them.
Passage up and down the lift is free for narrowboats holding a B. Waterways licence. All you do is turn up and get allocated the next space or for £5 you can book a time.
Even if you are not on a boat you can take advatage of a trip boat that regularly makes the journey up and down, but you will have to pay.
The whole site with visitor centre containg exhibits and film shows telling the whole story is well worth a visit.
The entrance to the lift. First you enter beneath the guillotine gate you can see, this is then lowered and you are between the canal and the lift tank, a bit like entering the lion area at a drive in safari park, the gate in front of you is then raised and you enter the lift tank. Gate then lowers and you are in your own private bath tub ready to go down.