I put the registration number of a canal barge into a search engine and this is what I discovered ‘Length 15.25 metres (50 feet ) – Beam 1.99 metres (6 feet 6 inches ) – Draft 0.92 metres (3 feet ) Metal hull power of 60.’ Then as is the way with searches I discovered one place of its berth – ‘The Sheffield and South Yorkshire New Junction Canal connects not only the Aire and Calder Main Line with the Sheffield and South Yorkshire Canal, but also Sheffield with the River Trent via the Sheffield and South Yorkshire Navigation. Construction was authorised in 1891 to increase the scope of the coal trade carried in “Tom Puddings”. Work started in 1896 and it was opened in 1905.’ This is courtesy of Jim Shead who has a great deal more information and history on his site
Barge spotting is a more leisurely pastime than plane or train spotting as the speed tends to be steady enough for even the slowest to catch the details. Since the river banks and canal sides are not thronged with young kids with pen and paper recording the numbers it isn’t catching on just yet. One thing that did impress me was the Sat Nav on this barge and it brought to mind the stories of lorries being sent down totally unsuitable roads, so expect to see a barge in a puddle near you next time it rains – that will boost barge spotting.