Canal inclined plane

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Inclined plane on Marne-Rhine Canal with a caisson
Inclined plane of the Elbląg Canal with a cradle

An inclined plane is a type of cable railway used on some canals for raising boats between different water levels. Boats may be conveyed afloat, in caissons, or may be carried in cradles or slings.


Inclined planes have evolved over the centuries. Some of the first were used by the Egyptians to bypass waterfalls on the Nile.[1] These consisted of wooden slides covered with silt which reduced friction.[1]


Inclined Plane 7 West on Morris Canal, showing flume, powerhouse, cabling, and track. Cradle can be seen at bottom in the canal. Note how return cable is on wooden stands with pulleys
The track of the Foxton Inclined Plane, which is no longer in use

Other examples[edit]

With caissons[edit]

The electric inclined plane at the Krasnoyarsk Dam in Divnogorsk, Russia[12][13] The ship capacity is up to 1500 tons[which?], maximum ship size is 80 by 17 by 2 metres (262.5 ft × 55.8 ft × 6.6 ft) and elevation is 104 metres (341 ft). This is an electric rack railway. The track gauge of the railway is 9,000 mm (29 ft 6+516 in), making it the widest gauge railway of any type in the world.[14]

Without caissons[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Foxton Locks and Inclined Plane A Detailed History. Department of Planning and Transportation, Leicestershire County Council. 1988. p. 3. ISBN 0-85022-191-9.
  2. ^ a b David Tew. Canal Inclines and Lifts.
  3. ^ a b c d Hans-Joachim Uhlemann. Canal Lifts and Inclines of the World.
  4. ^ a b Hadfield's British Canals eighth edition Joseph Boughey Page 49 ISBN 0-7509-0017-2
  5. ^ a b c d e f g Permanent International Association of Navigation Congresses. (1989). Ship lifts: report of a Study Commission within the framework of Permanent ... PIANC. ISBN 978-2-87223-006-8. Retrieved 2011-12-14.
  6. ^ David Minor (July 1996). "A CANAL CHRONOLOGY". EZnet. Archived from the original on 2012-02-04. Retrieved 2011-12-16. 1788 -- An inclined plane is used for the first time to raise canal boats, on England's Ketley Canal.
  7. ^ H. W. Dickinson (1913). "Robert Fulton: Engineer and Artist". London Publishing. Archived from the original on 2011-01-12. Retrieved 2011-12-16.
  8. ^ "JRRI Newsletter Winter 1996/97". 30 May 1997. Archived from the original on 30 May 1997. Retrieved 8 April 2022.
  9. ^ "Brewer, E. Cobham. Dictionary of Phrase & Fable. Trollope, Mrs. Frances". Retrieved 8 April 2022.
  10. ^ a b "Railroad Extra, the Morris Canal and its Inclined Planes". Retrieved 2014-02-06.
  11. ^ Raymond Bowen (2001). The Burry Port and Gwendreath Valley Railway and its Antecedent Canals. Oakwood Press. ISBN 0-85361-577-2.
  12. ^ "Прохождение судами Енисейского пароходства судоподъемника Красноярской ГЭС - Фотогалерея". (Boats of the Yenisei Shipping Company traveling via the ship lift of the Krasnoyarsk Hydroelectric Station: Photo gallery) (in Russian),
  13. ^ From River to River - photo gallery,, 2007
  14. ^ "Boat lift Krasnoyarsk hydroelectric power station on the Yen - Socialphy". Archived from the original on 2014-04-07. Retrieved 2017-10-24.
  15. ^ "Locks and Planes of the Morris Canal". Retrieved 8 April 2022.

Further reading[edit]

  • Tew, David (1984). Canal Inclines and Lifts. Sutton Books. ISBN 0-86299-031-9.
  • Uhlemann, Hans-Joachim (2002). Canal lifts and inclines of the world (English Translation ed.). Internat. ISBN 0-9543181-1-0.

External links[edit]