Ronquières inclined plane
The Ronquières Inclined Plane is a Belgian canal inclined plane on the Brussels-Charleroi Canal in the province of Hainaut in Wallonia that opened in April 1968 after a six-year construction period. It is located in the municipality of Braine-le-Comte, and takes its name from the nearby village of Ronquières.
The purpose of the construction was to reduce the delays imposed by the 14 locks (already reduced from 16 in the 19th century) which had hitherto been needed for the canal to follow the local topography.
The Ronquières Inclined Plane has a length of 1,432 metres (4,698 ft) and lifts boats through 67.73 metres (222.2 ft) vertically. It consists of two large caissons mounted on rails. Each caisson measures 91 metres (299 ft) long by 12 metres (39 ft) wide and has a water depth between 3 and 3.70 metres (9.8 and 12.1 ft). It can carry one boat of 1,350 tonnes or many smaller boats within the same limits.
Each caisson has a 5,200-tonne counterweight running in the trough below the rails, which permits the caisson to be moved independently of the other. Each caisson is pulled by 8 cables wound by winches located at the top end of the inclined plane. Each cable is 1,480 metres (4,860 ft) long.
Each caisson can be moved between the two canal levels at a speed of 1.2 metres per second (3.9 ft/s), taking about 22 minutes.
It takes 50 minutes in total to pass through the 1,800 metres (5,900 ft) of the entire structure, including the raised canal bridge at the top end.
In popular cultureEdit
- The film Brussels by Night (1983) takes place (in part) at the inclined plane of Ronquières.
- Gallez, Alfred (1998). Ronquieres:where boats go on rollers. Tourist Federation of Hainaut (Mons).
- 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.