Riverboat due to start operations from 1st April

In readiness for the new season we have installed a new GPS regulated commentary system. Simon has programmed the system to work out where the riverboat is and control the commentary accordingly. We completed a very pleasant trip upriver to calibrate it and installed a new screen so that we could control the system and monitor the results. It is a very cost effective system working from a Raspberry Pi and based loosely on a system that the Cromford Canal Trust programmed over the lockdown. The Cabin crew will be delighted that they don’t have to manually control the recording to take account of the varied driving speeds and water flow and can focus on customers.

With six months moored under trees and within the range of wildlife there was a major cleaning exercise required. We’d experienced some leakage around the solar panel fixings, so we decided to remove them, clean the roof, repaint it and refix them ensuring that all fixings are leakproof. The transformation on the roof has been considerable and we’re about to start on the sides now, but that’s a much easier job. The biggest challenge with painting under the bridge has been the flock of pigeons resident there. It’s a bit offputting hearing the cooing as you clean the paintwork – again – and hope the paint dries fast enough to prevent them damaging it when you’ve gone home.

Working parties have been impacted by a theft at our container earlier this month. Security seemed to be very strong, but we noticed damage to the lock as someone had tried to prise open the container. Unfortunately the damage meant that we couldn’t get access to remove tools. Whilst we were organising a fix the culprits came back the next night with an angle grinder and finished the job. We lost all our maintenance equipment. So we’ve now repaired and enhanced the cabin security. Two locks with thicker welded protection to prevent angle grinders should do the trick. Thanks go to our specialist volunteers (and family!).

The next meeting on 25th April  and will be a presentation on the Bennerley Viaduct; about its restoration and plans for the future.