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Building canals over flat land is easy. But making them go uphill has always been a problem. This programme features some of the ingenious answers that canal engineers have come up with, under the general heading of "Boat Lifts".

The grandfather of all boat lifts has to be Anderton in Cheshire, designed in the 1870's, and completely restored in 2002. The design was adopted at Les Font-inettes in Northern France and in Belgium where we take you through three of the four lifts on the Canal du Centre. Here too is the highest lift in the programme at Stripy Thieu, where the ship lift, started in 1982 and still under construction, will lift 1350 tonne peniches through 73 metres.

We take you to Germany where the great ship lifts at Henrichenburg provide a solution that is elegant in its simplicity. These have a capacity of 2000 tonnes.

The longest lift is an inclined plane at Ronquiere on the Brussels - Charleroi canal where the bed of the incline is 1.5 kilometres long, again with a 1350 tonne capacity.

The most bizarre lift featured is at Montech on the Canal Lateral du Garonne in Southern France, where two 1000 hp traction units attempt to propel you up hill on a wedge of water trapped in a concrete channel by a giant bulldozer blade.

The newest and most fantastic lift of all is the Falkirk Wheel, where a great starwars-like construction swings boats through an aerial arc, like a giant theme-park ride.

DVD Info

Region: 2
Running Time: 74 minutes

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