Antony Petitprez of Voies Navigables de France (VNF) kindly hosted a technical visit for the Canal River Trust (CRT) staff in the region of Strasbourg. During the visit, we were able to attend a site that was being refurbished and modernised using Green WIN funding, and an older existing structure, that are both still critical assets in maintaining water levels on the local navigations.
First visit was to Stock Pumping Station, a site that was being upgraded with the help of Green WIN funding. We were met by Olivier Christophe from VNF and Mathieu, their Contractor from Artelia, who were managing the refurbishment of pumps, control and pipeline. During a tour of the facility, we were able to inspect both the new pipeline and pump set up and undertake an inspection of the control panel and electrical wiring systems.
We were able to bring back ideas about the design of well covers, that should greatly improve both saftey and access at our pump stations back in UK.
Although the pumps were now up and running in manual, the completed automation was currently restricted due to the international issues of parts supply, that are also affecting our projects in England.
Discussions were held over how they could potentially improve this automated system in the future, enabling them to move completely away from user interaction, and install remote level monitoring transducers, like we do in CRT.
The second visit to Gondrexange pump station was also very interesting and demonstrated that like CRT, VNF still have to work with old, antiquated equipment, that despite its age, still does its required job, albeit potentially not as efficiently as a modern pump set. Upgrades to the High Voltage system had been completed, but old switch gear was retained, which was great to see from a heritage perspective (see photo above).