Poland's Elblag Canal moves boats up and down hills on RAIL TRACKS

Forget locks, boats on this canal are moved up and down hills on an amazing system of RAIL TRACKS laid on land

  • Poland’s Elblag Canal uses a system of five inclined planes between its lakes, which are too steep for locks
  • So rail tracks run carriages to transport the boats up and down hills up to 69 feet in height 
  • Kaiser Friedrich Wilhelm II of Prussia commissioned the 80km-long (50 miles) canal system

Behold one of Europe’s most bizarre transportation systems.

Pleasure craft using Poland’s Elblag Canal can appear to be seen as sailing through grassy plains as they follow tracks on land in an unusual solution for dealing with elevation on the waterway.

The canal, approximately 240km (150 miles) north of Warsaw, uses a system of five inclined planes between its lakes, which are too steep to be navigated using locks.

The Elblag Canal uses a system of five inclined planes between its lakes, which are too steep to be navigated using locks

Boats are transported on carriages that run up and down rail tracks. The biggest plane has a rise of 21 metres (69 feet)

Pleasure craft using the Elblag Canal can appear to be seen as sailing through grassy plains. Picture courtesy of Creative Commons licenses

So rail tracks run carriages to transport the boats.

The difference in elevation between the lowest and highest level is almost 100 metres (330 feet).

The biggest plane has a rise of 21 metres (69 feet) and is 262 metres (859 feet) long. The smallest a rise of 13 metres (42 feet).

Kaiser Friedrich Wilhelm II of Prussia commissioned the 80km-long (50 miles) canal system, including the on-land bit, to connect what was then East Prussia to the Baltic Sea.

It took 16 years to build and was completed in 1860.

It was used to transport wood that was used in ships’ masts.

It is now used exclusively for tourism.

Unsurprisingly it was named one of the Seven Wonders of Poland, alongside the Wieliczka Salt Mine, Torun Old Town, Malbork Castle, Wawel Castle and Cathedral, Zamość Old Town and Kraków Market Square and Old Town.

Tripadvisor user Krisek was full of praise for the device, saying: ‘It’s hard to believe and imagine how it works especially when you realise how old that construction is.’ 

The difference in elevation between the lowest and highest level of the Elblag Canal is almost 100 metres (330 feet)

Kaiser Friedrich Wilhelm II of Prussia commissioned the 80 km-long (50 miles) canal system, including the on-land bit, to connect what was then East Prussia to the Baltic Sea

Unsurprisingly, the Elblag Canal was named one of the Seven Wonders of Poland

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