Tug to pull Tub Boat on Shrewsbury Canals

A canal society have bought an old British Waterways canal tug with the intention of using it to pull a passenger ‘tub’ boat when they have enough restored canal to run trips on.

The Shrewsbury and Newport Canals Trust (SNCT) have purchased BITTERN with the intention of using her to tow a replica “Tub” Boat, suitably modified to take passengers, as an unusual Trip Boat. This will then be used to help raise funds for the restoration of their canals. Tub boats are very unusual as they were only 6’ wide x 20’ long and they were the standard transport on the east Shropshire canals.


BITTERN was expertly transported by Shebdon’s Crane Hire Ltd of Telford, a long standing supporter of the SNCT. It was taken from the Llangollen canal at Welshpool to Shrewsbury College of Art and Technology (SCAT) on 11 October. Thanks to the foresight of Martyn Goodwin and the support of Ken McKerral, Head of Mechanical Engineering Department at SCAT, the boat now has a new temporary home, where she will be completely stripped, checked and re-built using student power plus SNCT volunteers. This will take a few months to complete, but it is hoped that BITTERN will be launched on to part of the Shrewsbury canal in the late spring of 2014 for use as a Trip Boat.

A delighted Martyn Goodwin said “At long last we have something different from motor cars for my students to get their teeth into! This will be a great project to be part of, as we have all the facilities to refurbish or replace worn, rusted and damaged parts and make her as good as new again.”

Thanks to The Shrewsbury and Newport Canals Trust for this report and image.

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