The canal that runs through the town of
When we visited the ‘Plan incliné’ some years ago, we arrived a few minutes too late to catch the last tourist boat that was ready to go down the slope. So we drove to the lower level from where we watched the container sliding down. Although the tourist boat was a small vessel, it was an impressive sight. Imagine what it must be like when a large
One of the side canals of the ‘Canal de la Marne au Rhin’ is called the ‘Canal des Houillères de la Sarre’. It links the first to the
‘Ecluse 16’, the restaurant where we had lunch on Sunday, is near one of the 27 locks on this intriguing canal. After leaving the restaurant, we came across ‘lock number 13’, - numbers 15 and 14 were probably located off the main road - just when two Dutch leisure boats were entering it. We saw the owners talking to a lady in blue working clothes standing on land. We were curious to know what was going on, so we parked the car and watched the lady disappear in the lock keeper’s cabin. The boaters attached their vessels according to the regulations. To our surprise it was the lady who operated the lock. The whole operation took about 10 minutes.
The first of the two Dutch boats entering the lock and the lady lock keeper walking towards her cabin.
While both boats carefully steered out of the lock, we walked down to the cabin where the lady was watching the boats leave. When asked, she gladly explained to us all about the canal and the locks. She showed us the inside of the cabin, which looked a bit like an air traffic controller’s workspace. Two thirds of 27 locks on the canal are automatically controlled. The others are still manual and have to be operated by a lock keeper or the boaters themselves.
The lady lock keeper of lock 13 is in charge of 5 locks, 4 of which she controls from a distance. On her computer screen she ‘picks up’ the incoming boats two locks before they arrive at number 13 and she guides them all the way through. She’s a civil servant who can be sent all over
She also told us that the canal was no longer used for its original purpose – the transport of coal and iron ore from the mines and quarries to the numerous factories and production plants in the
We enjoyed our talk with the lady lock keeper as it was very instructive. We thanked her for her time and took our leave to continue our drive, admiring the hilly