Thursday, 13 August 2015

Canal & Locks – Trollhättan (3)


Trollhätte Canal is part of the longer Göta Canal, constructed in the early 19th century to connect lakes and rivers from Göteborg (Gothenburg) on the west coast all the way to Söderköping on the east coast. The construction of the Göta Canal, finished in 1832, was by far the greatest civil engineering project ever undertaken in Sweden up to that time; requiring 22 years of effort by more than 58,000 workers.


The first series of locks at Trollhättan (above) was built between 1795-1800. By the time the whole canal was finished, though, the locks at Trollhättan were already too small, and new ones were built between 1838-1844.


This is the upper of the second set of locks.



The locks from 1844 were used until 1916, when the they were replaced by a third set still in use today, which can take cargo vessels up to 4000 tons.


To be brought up or down an impressive 32 metres at Trollhättan, the boats here now go through a series of four locks.

The maximum dimensions for a boat to traverse the canal are:

  • Length: 88 m
  • Width: 13.2 m
  • Mast height: 27 m
  • Depth: 5.40 m


These pictures are from the upper lock.


There weren’t any big ships waiting to go down the locks just when we happened to visit. Much of the summer traffic on the canal consists of smaller private boats.


I have left all the photos in this post unedited… The day really was just as grey and rainy as it appears!


It’s possible to go on a tourist tour through the locks on board this old canal boat from 1875 – M/S Elfkungen. (The name might be interpreted as either King of the River or King of the Elves/Fairies.) You have to set aside at least three hours for that adventure though.

Instead, we took the car down to the bottom end of the flight of locks, where we got to watch a couple of smaller boats go through the last one.


In the following pictures – note the water level sinking.





Finally the last gates were opened and the boats were let out.



By this time it was raining really heavily again!



Linking to Good Fences


  1. the lock design is quite fascinating!

  2. Last year I travelled down the Rhine River from Amsterdam to Budapest. We went through the most amazing lock one evening. It was huge. So big that we all stayed on deck drinking champagne and taking photos for at least an hour. There were other locks, but not as large. Locks involve so much effort in both construction, maintenance, and use. It just amazes me. I wonder who built the first one and how it was received.

  3. It's amazing how locks work and you have some nice shots here.

  4. How very interesting. You got some amazing photos of this dock and all it's fencing. My favorite one was the very first shot but I also really liked #4 - That's quite a ways down. - I've been in a boat and gone through docks before but not like this one.

  5. A Grand post. It looks like a large version of the Caledonian canal and the weather is identical.

    1. Only if you haven't got a Pauline with you Adrian! It was a grand day when we went to see it and Urquhart Castle.

  6. I was thinking along the same lines as Louise Michie in her comment. I wonder who first came up with the idea, and how they arrived at it.
    It's fascinating, and the historic boat tour would have been interesting... although I guess 3 hours would be testing my patience a little :-)

  7. that is a lot of people and a lot of years to build this lock.. i now know why the locks are always narrow... i am wondering how many and how long it would take to build this now with modern equipment.

  8. I love watching boats going through locks and you certainly have many fences to see in this post

  9. Thanks all for your comments. There is an extensive Wiki article Lock (water transport) if you want to go into details :) I gather from that source that pound locks were used in China already 1000 years ago...

  10. Canals have always fascinated me and I'm really enjoying your trip.

    1. So did I, Graham, and I'm also happy to be able to show my readers a bit more of my corner of the world. Makes a change from the everyday views even if we did not really travel very far :)


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