THE FALKIRK WHEEL
An overall view of the canal, wheel and visitor buildings. The sceal at the end of the canal needs be a pretty tight fit
with the strength to hold back all that water
Left: The two gondolas and the driving spindle. Right: With visitor boats waiting to enter the lower gondola
Close-up of the gondola, showing the two bogies that keep the gondolas level as the wheel turns. They are like railway
wheels but with flanges on both sides running on a rail that runs in a full circle
The Wheel straight on. The Lock in the foreground take boats down one
more level and onto the Forth & Clyde Canal. The top Gondola has a boat
waiting to decend but the bottom gondola is waiting for the next 'up' boat
A view from the marina
A visitor boat starts to move sideways for the manouver to enter the lower gondola
Giving scale to the size of the boat and the height of the lift
The visitor's boat moves into the lower gondola
The boat is secured in the gondola and waiting for the lift. Visitors are given a talk prior to the lift and an audio
visual runs giving full details of the work involved in reopening the canal and building the Wheel as the lift takes
place and during the short cruise to the opposite end of the canal and the return journey .
Waiting for the lift to begin
Inside the visitor boat as the lift begins
The lift in progress. The top gondola is going down while the lower one is going up
The view over the countryside as the Gondola rises higher
The visitors are now at the top of the lift. It takes four minutes for the wheel
to make a full circle. Power use is about 4 amps as the main work is carried
out hydraulically and computer controlled.
From the opposite side overlooking Falkirk and the Forth Valley as the gondola is goes back down. One of the few
moments when you feel that you could be in an aeroplane
Looking up through the ceiling of the boat. The massive arm of the wheel and the hydraulic wall that holds back th
e canal water
The schematic showing how the wheel operates. No matter how many boats are in the gondolas the weight remains
the same (300 tons) by the computer expelling water to balance the weight Note that the large Gog wheels don't turn
but the two smaller gog wheels on the outer edge that match up to the cogs on the end of the Gondolas do.
The central spindal is turned by an electric motor and the hydraulics do the rest.
Copyright (Bill Reid)
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