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Home arrow Vessels arrow Others arrow ESB 1 & ESB 2 - Maintenance Barges - Germany 1924
ESB 1 & ESB 2 - Maintenance Barges - Germany 1924 PDF Print E-mail
02 February 2009

 

Both ESB 1 and ESB 2 were built in Germany by Ziegret Boizenbarg in 1924. They were purchased new and brought to Ireland by the Siemens Company, when they were contracted by the Irish government to build the Hydro Electric Station at Ardnacrusha.
 
The two boats are unique in that they were the only steel boats to work on the Irish waterways that had timber bottoms. When the building of Ardnacrusha was complete in 1932, both boats were purchased by the ESB for the price of £200 each.
 
They were used by the ESB (Electricity Supply Board) Maintenance department as dumb barges (without engines) and were towed around by the ESB tugboat to various projects. These included carrying materials up and down the tailrace to grouting operations, to drilling operations and concrete plating maintenance. Both were involved in 1963 in the salvage of 62M, now the ESB Maintenance Boat. She had sunk with a load of cement while being towed by the St. Patrick two years previously. The ESB engineering drawings for the salvage operation are an interesting read.
 
ESB 1, Serial No. 13566
 
The ESB Civil Works Plant Specification Sheet from 1932 indicates she is 18.03m (58.6ft) in length with a width of 4.22m (13.7ft) and a height of 1.4m (4.6ft). She has 6mm steel sides with a flat bottom constructed of timber and had a capacity of 51 tonnes.
 
Unlike ESB 2, she had her cargo hold covered over with timber to make a solid working platform. When purchased by Gerry Burke in 2001, she was lying on the canal outside the ESB depot in Killaloe with her wooden floor leaking. Her hull was being pumped out every couple of weeks. Gerry planned to tow her up to Lough Derg with 68M, but on Sunday April 8th when they went to move her, a flood on the river resulted in a huge torrent of water coming down the canal. 68M towing another boat didn’t have enough momentum to get through the restriction of the disused canal, so the assistance of Joe Treacy (4E) was called upon and progress was made with the aid of Joe’s jeep. She is currently lying partly submerged and sitting in soft mud awaiting a long deserved makeover and a new bottom.
 
ESB 2, Serial No. 13556
 
The ESB Civil Works Plant Specification Sheet from 1932 indicates she is 18.04m (58.6ft) in length with a width of 4.2m (13.7ft) and a height of 1.4m (4.6ft). She has 6mm steel sides with a flat bottom constructed of timber and had a capacity of 53 tonnes.
 
ESB 2 was craned out at the pier head in Killaloe in the early 90s as her timber bottom needed to be replaced. The work wasn’t done and she lay upside down at the pier head until purchased by Gerry Burke in 2001. By then the timber bottom had all but disappeared but the oak ribs across the bottom were in good shape. He took advantage of her lying upside down and got Patrick Minogue to weld on a new steel bottom before she was craned back into the river. On May 1 st 2002 there was a few anxious moments getting the William O’Brien crane into the site to lift and turn the barge. While turning the barge it slipped from the crane and damaged a boundary fence. While crane hire is always a big expense in these situations, in this case, the subsequent fixing of the fence cost a lot more. Once in the water, she was towed by 68M to join her sister.
 
In September 2004, to celebrate Water Heritage Day, the Burke gang took ESB 2 to Dromineer with 68M to collect 1000 bales of barley straw, which was then brought across the lake to Dromaan. ESB 2 is now patiently awaiting a spurt of energy from her owner to start its conversion, which is due any day soon.
 
ESB 1 ESB 2
 
Last Updated ( 04 December 2010 )
 
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