REPLICA iron canal barge, Vulcan, could sail again on the surviving section of the Monkland Canal near Coatbridge, under plans being dusted down at the town’s Summerlee Industrial Museum to mark the site’s 30th birthday.
The Vulcan replica, built in the 1980s, and renovated in a £300,000 refit in 2014, is currently displayed above the water in the museum’s canal section where it acts as a display area and classroom. But, now, curator, Clare Weir, is looking at the possibility of re-floating the barge, whose original was launched in 1819, and sailing her on the canal.
“We mark the 30th anniversary of the official opening of Summerlee in March 2018,” said Clare “We are looking at various original plans for the museum with a view to being more operational and came across a proposal to sail Vulcan on the canal.
“The Monklands Canal linked Coatbridge with its iron works to Glasgow and beyond. Horse-drawn Barges, such as our replica, carried both raw materials and finished goods and were the backbone of the industrial revolution, so we are looking at the possibility of re-floating her and using her for demonstrations of horse-drawn barge working.”
A decision on whether or not Vulcan will sail again will be made later in the year, while work is also continuing on the restoration of the musuem’s steam yacht, Firequeen, to have her back in action on the canal in time for the 30th anniversary celebrations.