A team from Ainscough’s Heavy Cranes Division has delivered a series of lifts at Ashton-under-Lyne railway station as part of a major infrastructure upgrade in the Greater Manchester town. Working for main contractor Buckingham Group Contracting Ltd, which is delivering the works for Network Rail, Ainscough’s team spent a number of days on site.

The project, which required a 23-day closure of the station, is part of the North West Electrification Project, which will see over £1bn invested across the North as part of the national Railway Upgrade Plan. The work involved rebuilding the railway bridge over Turner Lane and replacing and realigning over two miles of track.

Using one 750-tonne crane and two 150-tonne machines to complete an initial set of lifts, a second 750-tonne crane joined the first at a later date to complete the lifting tasks.

Andrew Winter, Heavy Cranes Director said: “It was rather unusual to have two 750-tonne cranes on the same job particularly working in such close proximity to one another. The time constraints of the build programme meant the two bridge sections had to be lifted almost in unison which meant the two cranes were required.

“We used no fewer than 119 Ekki mats to support the cranes as stone levelling was not an option. We completed the lifts on schedule and the works to the station continued.”

Nick Brown, Network Rail’s project manager, said: “The railway corridor on which Ashton station sits was narrow, with many curves which restricted the speed that trains can travel. Replacing the bridge deck and realigning the track will result in smoother and straighter track, meaning trains will be able to travel faster which, in the long run, means more frequent services on the route.”

The work is part of a wider scheme on the line that will not only enable better journey times between Manchester Victoria and Stalybridge, but also allow the increase of services using the station from May 2018.