First boats for seventy years sail under Ocean Rail Bridge – Gloucestershire News Service

The journey has only been made possible since the Ocean Rail Bridge was replaced between Christmas and New Year by Network Rail on behalf of the Cotswold Canals Connected partnership. The previous bridge with its narrow opening was too small to allow boats to pass underneath.

Canal volunteers will now begin carrying out work on the towpath between Ocean and Bonds Mill, replacing the path, installing curbs and reducing overgrown vegetation.

The work should be completed in mid-May, allowing the reopening of the towpath. Until then, an alternative walking and cycling route will continue.

Chris Mitford-Slade, Cotswold Canals Connected Project Manager, said: “I am delighted that it was the members of Cotswold Boatmobility who were the first boats to sail under the new Ocean Rail Bridge, as they provide a valuable service to ensure that the channel is accessible to many people. who otherwise could not benefit from it.

“One of the main aims of Cotswold Canals Connected is to expand opportunity and inclusiveness, ensuring that those people and communities most at risk of exclusion are supported to have as many opportunities as possible. to participate in the project.

Network Rail Project Manager Deborah Elliott said: “It’s been an exciting and rewarding project and it’s great to see all our hard work come to fruition. It was a joy to see Cotswold Boatmobility go up the canal and under the new bridge. Congratulations to them for being the first ships across.

Cotswold Canals Connected is a partnership of organizations that restore the canal network. Phase 1A, which is now complete, restored the section between Stonehouse and Thrupp. Phase 1B, which includes work on the Ocean Rail Bridge, will restore another four-mile section between Stonehouse and Saul Junction, providing a connection to the national waterway network.

The partnership is committed to achieving meaningful results for wildlife, people and communities, and for our canal heritage.

To find out more about Cotswold Canals Connected, including how to get involved or donate, please see or follow the project on social networks.

Cotswold Boatmobility run regular trips along the canal on Mondays and Wednesdays, with additional trips on request. You can find more information at

Earnest A. Martinez