Båt ligger vid väntbrygga i Göta kanal

Waits at locks and bridges

You may have to wait for various reasons during your canal journey. Don’t create a too detailed schedule, but allow plenty of time to enjoy all the experiences a canal trip has to offer.


Remote controlled bridges

Many of the bridges over the Göta canal are remotely controlled and several of them are operated from the same place. For safety reasons, the lock keeper may only open one bridge at a time. This means that there may be a certain waiting time before the particular bridge you are on can be opened.

In order for the lock keepers to know that you want the bridge opening, they must also be able to see you in the camera. It is therefore important to always be ready in front of the bridge to show that you want to cross. If you are at a waiting bridge or quay, it is not possible for the lock master to decide whether you want to pass or not.


Railway bridges 

Rail traffic has priority at all railway bridges that cross the Göta canal. For each opening, the lock operator calls the Swedish Transport Administration to get power to open the bridge. Therefore, there may be waiting times at the railway bridges in Norsholm, Motala, Töreboda and Lyrestad. This is not something that the lock keeper can influence, but is completely controlled by when the Swedish Transport Administration's notifier gives the go-ahead for bridge opening. The Swedish Transport Administration also allows only short interruptions for bridge opening, which is why it is important to be prepared to pass quickly when there is an opening.


Flights of locks

In flights of locks, such as Carl Johan in Berg, Borenshult in Motala and Hajstorps-Riksberg locks, there can be a few of hours of waiting time during peak traffic. This is because we lock boats in one direction for a certain time. Then the water needs to be diverted for locking in the other direction. This may mean certain waiting times for the boats traveling in the direction that is not locked at the time.


Passenger boats have priority

All commercial traffic on the Göta canal has priority at locks and bridges because they run according to a fixed timetable. This means that recreational boats may have to wait until the passenger boat has passed a lock or a bridge.


The right water level

It is imperative that there is the correct water level in all parts of the canal. Sometimes we need to top up water on a certain stretch to maintain it. The lock keepers will let you know how long it will take. 



In the event of a thunderstorm, all lockage and bridge openings are cancelled or postponed for safety reasons. In heavy winds boats may drift during lockage. It is the boat owner’s own responsibility to decide whether or not to perform lockage in such conditions.

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Good to know before your trip