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Tuesday, 26 March, 2002, 14:56 GMT
Canal's 'Eiffel Tower' back in action
Aerial view of Anderton Boat lift
The lift links the Weaver to the Trent and Mersey Canal
A Victorian lift which hoists boats 50 feet into the air has reopened after a 7m revamp.

The Anderton Boat Lift, built in 1875, raises boats to allow them to pass from the River Weaver to the Trent and Mersey Canal.

The lift was shut down in 1983 after it was declared structurally unsafe and has been rebuilt by British Waterways at their repair yard in Northwich, Cheshire.

But the public will be able to use the lift from Wednesday at a cost of 20 one way and 30 return.

Anderton boat lift
Boat users will pay 30 for a return on the lift

Derek Cochrane, regional director for British Waterways North West, said: "As a scheduled ancient monument, it has given us many unusual engineering challenges during its restoration.

"Our skilled engineers have had numerous obstacles to surmount in restoring the rusting Victorian and Edwardian structures and successfully combining them with modern technology."

It is hoped the revamped structure will become a major tourist attraction for the area.

Cash for the project came from The Waterways Trust, the Heritage Lottery Fund, English Heritage and British Waterways.

Victorian adventure

David Fletcher, chief executive of British Waterways, said: "I must admit to an almost childlike excitement in seeing this lift work again.

"There is something rather wonderful and inspiring about this Victorian giant."

The Anderton Boat Lift will cost 90,000 a year for maintenance and staff, but British Waterways predict that the local economy will benefit by more than 1m a year.

Former Independent MP for Tatton, Martin Bell - who was also president of the Anderton Boat Lift appeal - added: "I see this as the Eiffel Tower of the waterways... when others asked why, the Victorians asked why not."

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See also:

30 Jan 02 | England
Homes clear way for boats
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