Friday, 7 May 2010

Two Locks Line BCN

The Two Locks Line on the BCN
May 2010

I paid the two locks line  a flying visit, hoping to walk the line as I have elsewhere on the BCN. Sadly this wasn't to be the case because the Two Locks Line is no more. It was maintaining a fragile hold on life when Richard Chester-Brown surveyed in the 1970's but all trace has since been removed.

Woodside Junction, Two Locks Line

This short three furlong canal was built in 1858 to cut off a long corner at Blowers Green, riding high over the valley on a big embankment. From the start the old mine working caused trouble and the embankment was forever settling down.  The canal was closed for a while after 36 years in 1894, but limped on till 1909 when is ceased for good. 

Missing embankment, Two Locks Line

There are few images of the Two Locks Line but here is one from about 1894 when the deformation caused by subsidence and breach is very apparent:

Two Locks Line circa 1894

The short canal dropped about 12 feet through two locks, one at either end next to it's two cast iron roving bridges, the only remains to be seen today at Woodside Junction to the west and Black Brook Junction to the east.

Blackbrook Junction, Two Locks Line

Apart from a short stub of reeds at Black Brook, that is it. The embankment has been completely cleared away and were it not for modern roads having names like Narrowboat Way and Navigation Drive the presence of a canal would be completely forgotten.

Stub at Blackbrook Junction

Well, I say no other traces, but that isn't strictly true. A wander down the track behind Black Brook Junction leads you over a parallel pair of brick wall foundations. A scout round revealed these to be directly in line with the stub end and, surprise surprise, the walls are about 7ft 6in apart - the exact dimensions of a lock chanber. Amid all the devastation the bottom of lock 1 remains.

Base of Upper Lock, Two Locks Line - B&W is from the 1970's (Dudley Teachers Centre)

But that really is it for the Two Lock Line. The start and finish are quite visible and the direct path between the two is obvious, it just sits about 40ft above a modern industrial estate. Like I said - worthy of a flying visit!

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