The Anderton boat lift Reading Questions and Answers

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  • IELTS Reading Note Completion

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IELTS Reading Passage – The Anderton boat lift

Anderton boat lift

Section I

During the Trent and Mersey Canal’s opening in 1777, the Cheshre town of Anderson was the obvious location to transport to and from the nearby River Weaver. The only disadvantage was that the canal was 15 metres above the river.

The physical effort of moving the cargo was reduced by the creation of chutes, inclined planes, and pathways. To move cargo, primitive railways were built, along with cranes, and steam engines were later installed for powerlifting. When engineers Edward leader Williams and Edwin proposed the “boat caring lift,” the early 1870s expenditure, labour, and destruction associated with hand transportation by the Trustees of Weaver Navigation were eliminated.

Section II

‘Victorians’ mastery of cast iron and hydraulics had a unique and spectacular design as it was simple and sober in use, above all efficient, elegant in appearance where the lift was hailed as a marvel of era by becoming an instance for larger versions on the waterways of France and Belgium.

Two vertical sets of interconnected hydraulic cylinders and pistons were composed in an operating mechanism. The pistons were placed into the bed of the river and both the pistons were supported by the boat – carrying a tank 22.86 length and 4.72 metres breadth. At rest, one tank was levelled with a canal and the other with a river. In order to move the tanks, a small amount of water was removed from the bottom tank. As a result of which the  bottom tank used to become lighter than the top tank. 

The heavier top tank moved down as the two hydraulic cylinders were attached and forced hydraulic liquid through the connecting pipe into the outer cylinder pushing that piston and lighter tank upwards. While the tanks are moving the major function of the waterlight is to gate both on the tanks and at the entrance to the canal containing the water. The small amount of energy is not only required to effect a reasonably rapid movement by a hydraulic pump driven by steam supplied but is also used to enable the tanks to be precisely levelled at the end of their journey.

Section III

For the first ten years, everything ran without a hitch, but after that, the cylinders and pistons started to groove and pit. Investigations revealed that the damage was brought on by the corrosion-causing chemicals in the canal water used as the hydraulic fluid. The steam engine of the hydraulic pump was immediately replaced by distilled water. Even though there was a significant reduction in corrosion, the harm had already been done. The Trustees decided to construct a new lift in 1906 based on a design by their engineer A Saner because the steam engine’s boiler needed to be replaced as well. 

Section IV 

By using Victorian front and rear columns a new lift was formed over the top of the Victorian structure. The major function of the A-frames on either side of the new lift which is held by the main building is to support the enormous weight of the platform which has formed the recent framework: on it was located a new operating mechanism, which included seventy-two pulleys weighing up to 35 tonnes each.

Each boat-carrying tank was now suspended on wire ropes that ran from the tank to the top of the lift, around pulleys, and down to cast-iron weights on the structure’s side. These weighed the same as the water-filled tank. Turning the pulleys one way or the other caused the ropes to move, allowing one tank to be raised or lowered independently of the other. Because the weights counterbalanced the tanks, only a small electrical motor was needed to turn the pulleys and thus move the tanks up and down.

The reliable lift was completed in 1908 which was not only cheap but also easy to operate in comparison with the Victorian lift as it is less elegant but functional and worked well.

Section V

In both 1875 and 1908, larger versions were used for commercial traffic. where the main cargoes transported were coal, clay, salt, manufactured goods, agricultural products, and chinaware. Unfortunately, in the 1950s, trade in inland waterways in the United Kingdom drastically decreased. Additionally, in the 1960s, goods traffic using the lifts effectively came to an end. The “Cathedral of the Canals” was finally closed in 1982, despite a brief extension of its active life during the 1970s due to a boom in pleasure boating. In 1875 and 1908, commercial traffic was transported in larger versions. Where, coal, clay, salt, manufactured goods, agricultural products, and chinaware were the main cargoes transported. Unfortunately, since the 1950s, trade on inland waterways in Britain has rapidly decreased. Additionally, since the 1960s, the movement of goods through the lifts has essentially ceased. The popularity of pleasure boating during the 1970s briefly extended its operational lifespan; however, in 1982, the “Cathedral of the Canals” was finally shut down.

Section VI

The demolition seemed unavoidable, but after a long campaign by concerned groups, British Waterways agreed to save the lift in 1999.

Some wanted it to be “conserved as found,” but that would require replacing much of the existing structure, effectively creating a replica lift. The steel of the 1908 structure had been severely corroded by pollutants from the local chemical industries and would need to be replaced if the overhead machinery and 500-tonne counterweights were to be supported. Furthermore, safety considerations would necessitate the installation of a backup braking system.

As a result, it was decided to use the original cast-iron structure and revert to the 1875 hydraulically operated system. Despite the removal of the counterweights, the 1908 framework and pulleys would be preserved as a static monument.

It was a massive and costly project fraught with difficulties. The Anderton Boat Lift was eventually reopened in 2002. Boat owners and visitors can ride ‘the world’s first boat lift’ once more.

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Questions 15-19

List of headings :

  1. The lift is in use
  2. The initial and second lift
  3. Restoring the elevator
  4. The newly constructed canal
  5. Mechanical issues
  6. Why was the lift required?
  7. The second lift’s supports
  8. A new framework and machinery are being developed.
  9. How the original lift functioned
  10. A totally new lift M‘

15. Section II – 
16. Section III –
17. Section IV –
18. Section V –
19. Section VI –

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Questions 20-24

Complete the diagram below.

Choose NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS from the passage for each answer.

Write your answers in boxes 20—24 on your answer sheet.


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Questions 25-27

Complete the notes below

Choose NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS from Reading Passage for each

Write your answers in boxes 25-27 on your answer sheet.

25.Similar lifts to the Anderton were later constructed in_______.
26.The additional power that was used to move the tanks came from______.
27. Making use of canal water caused harm to the______.

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Renewable Energy IELTS Reading Question with Answer

Answers for the Anderton boat lift

15. Answer: I
16. Answer: E
17. Answer: H
18.  Answer: A 
19. Answer: C
20. Answer: Platform
21. Answer: A-frame
22. Answer: Pulleys
23. Answer: (Boat Carrying) tanks
24. Answer: (Cast iron) weights
25. Answer: France and Belgium
26. Answer: A hydraulic pump
27. Answer: Cylinder and Pistons


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