August 11, 2017 / 3:03 PM / 11 days ago

Sailing, sailing, over the grassy waves

A ship rides on the tracks of the Buczyniec slipway on the Elblag Canal in Buczyniec, Poland August 10, 2017. Picture taken August 10, 2017.Kacper Pempel

ELBLAG, Poland (Reuters) - It is a tram or a train? Neither, it's a boat.

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.

Rail tracks run carriages to transport the boats.

The difference in elevation between the lowest and highest level is almost 100 meters (330 feet). The biggest plane has a rise of 21 meters and is 262 meters long; the smallest a rise of 13 meters.

Kaiser Friedrich Wilhelm II of Prussia commissioned the 80 km-long 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.

Writing by Stephanie Hannah Bailey; editing by Mark Hanrahan/Jeremy Gaunt

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