Canal du Centre

During the April break from school, the 5 of us went to Canal du Centre - a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  It is home to the last working canal lifts of this type in the world!  These lifts are raised and lowered using only water power - no electricity involved at all.

First we saw the engine room - this one is in charge of powering two lifts that are within 400 meters of each other on the canal.  We liked the orderliness of the tools and desk space!

These turbines pump the water up into towers where it is stored until it is needed.

As we leave the dock you can see one of the 4 lifts behind us (and Alex!)

The canal runs through several small towns, so ways had to be made for the local people to get around as well as the ships and these bridges were built.  This particular town asked that a footbridge be built alongside the car bridge, so there are two here.

This is the currently used canal lift for this part of the canal traffic now - it can raise and lower the boats in 7 minutes as opposed to the 45 minutes this canal system takes and does the entire height of the canal in one lift as opposed to four on this canal - saves a lot of time!

Amanda and Casey enjoy a sunny boat ride.

These turning bridges are fascinating!  Canal employees actually stand at them and come out to insert a hand crank to turn the bridge so the boats can pass - at least now there are only two boats a day coming thru since this part of the canal is closed to traffic and preserved, but imagine having that job when the commercial boats were coming through all day!

The building here is the engine room we were in at the beginning of our tour.  The water is stored in those tall towers on the front.  You can also see the man waiting to turn the bridge deck back to the road.

Here we approach the lift to be raised 17 meters to the next level of the canal...

This is the cylinder that lifts and holds each container.

Curt, Alex, and Amanda have some fun on the ride.

At the top and out of the lift!  Considering the time in which these were built, they are an amazing feat of engineering!