Strépy-Thieu Boat-Lift

3 May 2011
When the amphibians had dispersed we cast off and followed two laden barges into the caisson
where we tied up alongside and watched the descent.  We had been lucky enough to have had a tour around
the works of the this lift during the time it was being constructed but not yet operational, while at a
World Canal Conference in 1999, so this was a particularly interesting trip for us.

Something not to be missed, and yet there is something of an anticlimax when one travels through it.
There was absolutely no feeling of motion whatsoever, and it was only by watching the surrounding countryside
carefully and the gate disappearing above our heads as we went down that we were aware of descending.
There is also a loudspeaker both on shore and in the lift that gives information about the movement of the tank.
We reached the lower level within seven minutes. Altogether another strange but fascinating experience.

The following facts may be of interest to the curious:
the actual structure has a height of 117m, a length of 130m and a width of 75m.  There are two tanks of
112m x 12m each, and a depth of water which varies between 3.35m and 4.15m.The twin tanks are operated
independently and by electro-mechanical means. The tanks which boats enter are suspended by cables and
are balanced by massive counterweights made of concrete. The cables and counterweights can be seen moving
as the tanks ascend and descend. Truly awesome feats of engineering!

Comments are closed.