Floating Tractor Clears Standedge Tunnel

An amphibious tractor ventured into Standedge Tunnel recently to clear a blockage that built up during the recent floods, according to the UK Canal & River Trust.

The unusual work, which required the help of a specialist mining consultant, took two days to complete.

A hydraulic bucket on the front of the amphibious dredger, known as a Truxor, was used to clear the blockage so that boats will once again be able to navigate the 3¼ miles through the tunnel.

“Working deep underground in a tunnel on a floating dredger is quite unusual and poses many new problems which the team has successfully overcome in a short period of time,” said Mark Weatherall, senior project manager at the Canal & River Trust.

“Not only have we had to bring in specialist equipment, we’ve had to take specialist advice from a mining consultant who is experienced in confined spaces to make sure that the work was undertaken in a safe and efficient way.”

It is thought that during the unprecedented wet weather, approximately 8-9 cubic meters of sand, gravel and other debris were swept into the tunnel by a stream that flows into the tunnel about 250 meters from its entrance at Diggle.

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