Peterborough Lift Lock #21

With the successful mechanical consult behind us, we moved through lock 20 just around the corner from the Peterborough Marina, and continued another mile to the Lift Lock. We had planned to bike to the lift lock and spend some time at the visitor’s center, but with our departure coming earlier than originally anticipated, we decided to tie to the wall, have lunch there and visit the lock before locking through. The Peterborough Lift Lock is famous the world over as the highest lift lock in continuous operation. Construction began in 1896 and the lock opened in 1904. At the time it was a mechanical engineering marvel, providing a lift of 65 ft. at a time that conventional locks typically lifted 7 ft. or so. The lock is operated solely by gravity. A crossover valve allows flow between the two rams, the upper tub provides an additional weight offset by stopping 12″ short of the top thus allowing an additional 12″ or 131 tons of water to provide the motive force to operate the rams. The lock today is still using the original technology and equipment with various control updates, but it still functions as it did in 1904. It’s an astounding tribute to those dead men who developed and implemented what, at the time was cutting edge technology. And it’s been in operation since!

After touring the visitors center, we got back aboard and moved the boat into the lock tub, and enjoyed the 65 foot ride to the top! It is amazingly smooth, and very quiet, considering the amount of weight the system manages! We continued on through the afternoon, arriving at Lock 24, Douro about 1720 hrs.

2 Responses to “Peterborough Lift Lock #21”

  1. Lisa on 31 Jul 2017 at 11:31 PM #

    Pretty amazing
    Who thinks of these engineering marvels.

  2. maerin on 01 Aug 2017 at 12:03 AM #

    No, they’re all sleeping deep by now! Just astounding that it was built over 100 years ago, with mostly manual labor with the help of lots of steam power!