Diagonal Lock

Modernising & upgrading the UK waterways network

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Source: Diagonal Lock

As a nation we have become dependent on the national road network, but with increasing congestion, exorbitant fuel prices and the ongoing effort to reduce carbon emissions, there has been significant emphasis on finding ways to reduce traffic volumes. One of the major areas of focus has been the transfer of freight from the road network onto greener methods of transport.

The obvious alternative is to move greater volumes of freight via the U.K. rail network, however with years of underinvestment our rail network is already struggling to cope with the current volume of passenger numbers. Recent focus has shifted to Britain’s under-used and extensive waterways network, which has previously been used to transport freight as recently as the 1970s.

The Diagonal Lock is a new technology designed to improve the effectiveness of the waterway network - by eliminating the key problems traditionally associated with navigating inland waterways. The technology has been specifically invented as an alternative to the conventional canal locks used in British canals, which are restrictive in the size of boats they can accommodate and significantly reduce speed of transit.

Boats will be able to ascend or descend swiftly through the Diagonal Lock – the unique design of the sealed tube enables one diagonal lock to replace a flight of conventional locks, significantly reducing both transit times and the overall land usage required. The Diagonal Lock can also be constructed with side pounds - water in the pounds is used to raise and lower the water level in the lock tube as required. Water is pumped into the lock tube when a boat ascends, and pumped back out into the side pounds to enable a boat to descend. A Diagonal Lock using side pounds will be able to recycle almost 100% of the water it uses, offering a solution for canals with limited water supply – this lock design enables continuous usage with virtually no reliance on local water availability.

Despite being a modern structure, the Diagonal Lock can be constructed to blend into the surrounding environment, side pounds can be submerged underground and even the lock tube can be landscaped over. This offers the ideal combination of modern, efficient technology that does not compromise or impair the environment it inhabits.

A number of technical and research organisations have reviewed the Diagonal Lock technology, and their initial findings have been very positive. The technical components of the Diagonal Lock all use standard construction solutions which are recognized in civil engineering, allowing the Diagonal Lock to be seen as a viable and relatively low risk technology to construct.

Terry Fogarty, Inventor of the Diagonal Lock, is working with a number of organisations and professionals from industry, politics and business to develop the technology and take the Diagonal Lock towards production.

“The canal builders of the past were innovators in their time and now it is our turn to respond to 21st century constraints and evoke that spirit of innovation.” said Terry. “I believe that the Diagonal Lock is part of that new thinking.”

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