Victorian Powys for primary  schools
Powys Digital History Project
Montgomeryshire Canal
  Fast boats to catch the train  
Drawing by
Rob Davies

The lack of a local railway service created a demand for a passenger boat service along the canal to connect with the railway network. These were called 'fly-boats', which were long narrowboats with covered seating for passengers. They were usually towed by two horses (often galloping !) and travelled much faster than any other boats on the canal.
They had 'right of way' over other boats, which had to release their towlines to let the fly-boat pass. They could also go to the front if there was a queue of boats at lock gates.

It is said that there was a gruesome accident when a fast-moving fly boat passed another boat on the canal. The rope-boy who had to pass the tow-ropes over the boats was caught between the two ropes around the neck and his head was pulled off !
Drawing of fly-boat

building at

Photograph thanks
to Peter Kirkman's

Montgomery Canal

(See right)

Terminal building at Rednal
There are many recent photographs like this one on Peter Kirkman's Montgomery Canal website.
This records the progress of work to reopen as much of the route as possible for boat traffic.

The fly-boat service from Newtown dropped passengers at Rednal in Shropshire, where they could board trains heading north to Chester or south to Shrewsbury.
Special 'terminal' buildings were constructed alongside the canal for the use of people transferring from the canal boats to the railway. The restored building at Rednal is shown in the photograph above.
The fly-boat service on this and on other canals provided a cheaper alternative to travelling by stage-coach, which could be very uncomfortable on bad roads.

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