ASME-Landmark:Peterborough Hydraulic (Canal) Lift Lock


Located on the Trent Canal in the city of Peterborough, Ontario, Canada, the Peterborough Lift Lock boasts the highest hydraulic boat lifts in the world, transferring boats between two water levels in a single 19.8 m (65 ft.) lift. When it opened on July 9, 1904, conventional locks usually only had a 2 m (7 ft.) rise. The Peterborough Hydraulic Lift was designed in place of conventional locks, which would have lengthened the time considerably to transverse a gradual drop.

The lift operates on a balance principle. The lock has two identical ship caissons, or boat chambers, in which vessels ascend and descend. Both caissons are enclosed at each end by pivoting gates, and there are pivoting gates at the upper and lower reaches of the canal at the junctions with the caissons. Both sets of gates fit together and open in unison.

Each caisson sits on a ram, 2.28 m (7.5 ft.) In diameter. These move up and down inside water-filled cylinders connected by a pipe. A valve, located in its center, controls the flow of water between the two cylinders. In operation, the upper boat chamber is filled with an extra 30 cm (1 ft.) of water, which weighs 130.6 t (144 tons). When the valve is opened, this added weight causes the upper chamber to descend and the lower to rise.

The lift lock was designed by Richard Birdsall Rogers, a superintendent of the Trent Canal, and built by Corry and Laverdure of Peterborough and Dominion Bridge Company of Montreal. See ASME website for more information