Post by Neil Williams Post by Clive Page
How does that work in practice? If one person takes it across to the
Island, what happens when the next person comes along wanting to
travel in the same direction? Or what happens if it's been left on
the land side, and someone on the island wants to get off?
It looks like you can both wind the ferry along the chain, and wind the
chain from bank to bank to bring it over.
There is a separate winch and chain on each side of the ferry, linking
to a winch on each bank. Each chain is long enough to cross the channel
on its own. If the ferry is on the far side, you turn your winch until
the near chain tightens and lifts to the surface. As you keep turning,
the winch on the near side of the ferry spins until it's given all of
its chain to you. Then that winch stops spinning and the ferry starts
moving towards you as the two winches on the far chain spin and feed the
far chain to the fishes.
This is quite different from a normal chain ferry, which only has one
chain (or parallel group of chains) anchored to both banks and an engine
on the ferry driving along the chain(s). I don't know if there is a name
to differentiate the two systems.
Post by Neil Williams
Thanks. I'm not sure why the last sentence says that. It can't mean "out
of THE reach", i.e. into the main Thames, because the river always flows
downstream above Teddington Lock, so a ferry on slack chains would tend
to float further into the narrow channel rather than out into the
Thames. The ferry being "out of reach" of both sides is not a problem,
because you just reel the chain in.
What is theoretically needed is a priority rule about what should happen
if the ferry is floating away from both banks and people on both sides
want to use it, because if they both try to reel it in they might break
one of the chains. At least with separate chains linking the ferry to
the two banks, it should never head for France like the Dartmouth Higher
Ferry did in 2005.