Ainscough Crane Hire’s Manchester Depot and the Heavy Cranes team, have combined resources to deliver a series of lifts to contractors creating the new £350 million 5.5km Trafford Park Metrolink extension in Greater Manchester.

Metrolink is Greater Manchester’s light-rail system which connects numerous neighbourhoods with Manchester city centre, other district centres and numerous leisure and cultural establishments in the region.

The Trafford Park link will extend the network by creating six new tram stops through Trafford Park – Europe’s largest trading estate which is home to 13,000 businesses – and calling close to the home of Manchester United, the Imperial War Museum North and terminating at the Intu Trafford Centre.

Working for the contractor M-Pact Thales(MPT) – a joint venture comprising VolkerRail and Laing O’Rourke in consortium with Thales – using a Liebherr LTN 1300-6.2, the Manchester Depot installed pre-cast concrete beams to form the new Pomona Viaduct which links the existing elevated line with the new grade level extension close to the River Irwell. A Kato CR 250 25-tonne city crane has also been on site proving various lifts in support of the development.

Meanwhile, as part of major engineering works to carry the line across the Bridgewater Canal at Park Way, the Heavy Cranes team used two Liebherr LTM1500-8.1 cranes to position new steel bridge beams during an overnight road closure.

The 29-metre long bridge beams were lifted in tandem by the two 500-tonne machines to create a bridge spanning the canal following the contours of the existing elevated highway.

Gary Rathburn, Depot Manager at Manchester, said: “This is another job where the breadth of our depot network and fleet has come to the fore for our customers. For major infrastructure works like these, our customers need to be able to rely on us to be able to deliver the lifts efficiently and be sure that we can provide solutions to the construction challenges they face.

“Our approach is to make the processes as easy as possible for them by providing them with a single point of contact to handle all their requirements despite us working across different depots.

“Metrolink is massively successful and the new line will make the region better connected and help reduce road congestion.”

The Trafford Park line is due to open in 2020.


Ainscough’s team have successfully combined forces to carry out a series of lifts in a LTC1045-3.1 at London Dry Gin’s distillery in Warrington for client TEP Machinery Movement.

The team was required to remove a distillation vessel so vital repairs could be carried out before the team fitted it back into place on the Sunday to ensure the vessel was ready to work later the following week.

Discussing the process of choosing the right crane, Andy Clark, Planning & Technical Support Manager said: “We have successfully carried out this particular job several times using an AC40 City Crane, but because of the small space available onsite it has always proved a struggle. This was mainly down to the reduced outrigger base and subsequent reduced capacities to carry out the lift as efficiently as we would like.

“When we looked at the LTC1045-3.1 low headroom crane and checked out the physical dimensions this proved to be a far better choice, as it meant we could use four different outrigger vario base widths and also have an improved capacity at the lifting radius.

“Ainscough has enjoyed a successful relationship with this particular client for many years, and TEP were full of praise after the job was complete. From the initial planning stage to commending the driver on the day, we’re happy that we were able to carry out these lifts to such a high standard.”

Commenting on the project, Nigel Thirkill Owner of TEP Machinery Movement said: “As Ainscough are aware this particular job is very tight and has been frustrating in the past. On this occasion the operator controlled the crane with utmost care and attention throughout, interpreting the signals perfectly and greatly contributing to the success of the job.”


As part of Nottingham’s ongoing upgrades to its pedestrian and cycle links, Ainscough’s team has successfully lifted a new 50-metre bridge into place over the Midland Mainline railway.

The bridge will provide a crucial link to several key employment sites in the Nottingham Enterprise Zone, and marks a major milestone in a £6 million project to expand the city’s growing cycling and walking network.

Working on behalf of steel fabricators Briton Fabricators Limited, the Ainscough team arrived onsite in the early hours of the morning to complete the lift. Prior to this, the bridge, built out of treated steel to reduce maintenance costs, had been assembled offsite.

The lift took around six hours to complete, and the team enlisted the help of a Liebherr LTM1800, one of the largest cranes in the country.

Andrew Spink, Operations Director Heavy Cranes said: “As with anything we undertake safety is our paramount concern and focus, and manoeuvring something of this scale and weight required everyone to be working at the highest possible standard.

“The lift had to be carried out to a very tight schedule to minimise disruption to local rail services and avoid operating during peak commuting hours. The whole project was a real success and it’s great to be delivering something that is part of a much larger positive scheme. This bridge has the potential to unlock a whole new way of life for people in Nottingham, and we hope the local community will have an easier and more enjoyable commute to and from work.”


Ainscough’s Invergordon Depot has successfully completed the lift of two whiskey stills into the skeleton of the building at the new £15 million Ardross Distillery development.

Located in the scenic Averon Valley, 30 miles north of Inverness, the project for Ardross Investments Ltd involves the refurbishment and extension of a dilapidated farm complex on a private 50-acre site that includes Loch Dubh.

Working for main contractor Morrison Construction, the Ainscough team used a Liebherr LTM1055-3.1. to lift the two copper stills through the steel frame of the partially completed building.

Once part of Ardross Mains Farm established in the nineteenth century, the steading buildings, farm house and cottages have been retained for use in the new distillery venture. Stone and slate, salvaged from existing buildings that have collapsed, have been used to rebuild walls and roofs of the development.

Walls at the rear of the main steading will be removed and rebuilt to increase the size of the building for a two-storey still house, tun room, mash house and milling area. This building will surround two large courtyards with parking to the front.

The two detached one-and-a-half storey cottages to each side of the main steading will become offices and staff accommodation. An old dairy building behind the staff accommodation will become a blending and product development lab. A three-storey house at the rear of the site will become a vaulted cask storage area and marketing suite, the boiler house will also be located at the side of this building.

Rebekah Tippett, Depot Manager at Invergordon, said: “It is fantastic to be part of this historic development and part of the history of the Highlands. We required a calm day to complete the lifts of the stills as threading them through the steel frame of the building needed a very careful approach with no variables. Happy to say the lifts were completed without a hitch and we look forward to sampling the stills’ produce sometime down the line.”


Ainscough Crane Hire’s Heavy Cranes team has completed work at the Reckitt Benckiser Centre for Scientific Excellence in Hull as part of ‘Project Wren’, a scheme to expand a suite in the research centre’s new laboratory.

The new £105m Centre for Scientific Excellence is a key development for the UK healthcare sector.

The team used a LTM 1750.0.1 crane to successfully lift a new ‘plant room’ weighting 20-tonnes 65 metres onto the roof of the building.

Overall there have been around 20 lifts on the site involving a variety of modular plantrooms, switch rooms and switch panels. This has involved several weeks of logistics planning, including the re-routing of traffic, all without any unplanned changes for the Reckitt Benckiser Centre.

Igor Scalas, project engineer for Heavy Cranes said: “Due to the ground conditions onsite this lift required heavy duty mats, with the team ensuring throughout that we maintained the high safety standard we uphold on every job.

“This was a lift where I was truly proud of everyone, and it was our team working at its best. We always aim to make the experience of working with us as straight-forward as possible for our customers, and it was great to receive a note of thanks from the client after the work was completed.”


A team from Ainscough Crane Hire’s Falkirk Depot, working for Morrison Construction, have given a boost to the renovations at the Scottish Association for Mental Health’s (SAMH) Redhall Walled Garden in Edinburgh by lifting new accommodation into place.

Managed by SAMH, the Redhall Walled Garden service takes its name from the 18th-century wall that surrounds most of the six-acre garden. More than 50 trainees from Edinburgh attend the service to learn horticulture and computer skills while gaining therapeutic and social benefits from working in the garden.

A day of labour and resources was donated by Morrison Construction’s Water business and Ainscough Crane Hire, to lift and reposition two portable cabins at the garden. Both cabins, one already in use at the garden, were carefully lifted using a James Jack Liebherr LTM 1100-5.1 and moved near the 18th-century garden wall.

The cabins will now be renovated to provide a kitchen and dining space for trainees and staff with views across the garden.

Ciaran McNamee, Depot Manager at Ainscough’s Falkirk Depot said: “Mental health and wellbeing are important issues facing workforces up and down the country. The current focus on these areas, particularly in the construction sector, is helping to break down barriers and remove taboos around talking about mental health.

“Naturally we were delighted to help both the SAMH and Morrison Construction with this project and to have played a small part in helping them deliver these important services.”

Morrison Construction Water Operation’s Director Steve Slessor said: “As a values-driven business Morrison Construction is committed to giving back to the communities we work in wherever possible.

‘‘Our staff undertake mental health training with SAMH but we learnt about the important services Redhall Walled Garden provide from colleagues who undertook their annual volunteer days here. It is a pleasure to help the staff at the garden progress with these renovations, which we look forward to seeing once completed.’’

Redhall Walled Garden Team Leader Nicola Cole said: ‘‘We would like to thank Morrison Construction for organising this crane lift, as it has allowed us to better support those who attend the service for their mental health. Redhall offers training in horticulture, conservation, maintenance and life skills and this space will help us deliver this in a welcoming and open space.

‘‘Now we can move forward with our renovations, upgrading our facilities to provide the best environment for trainees and staff whilst delivering the best possible mental health services at the garden.’’


A team from Ainscough Crane Hire’s West London Depot, working with infrastructure specialists Osborne, has completed a major renovation of the Gade Valley viaduct on the M25 close to Kings Langley in Hertfordshire.

The programme of works included the installation of new expansion joints in the viaduct which allow the concrete road deck to expand and contract with changing temperatures without compromising the structure’s integrity.

The viaduct carries over 4.4 million vehicles every year and needed refurbishment as part of its ongoing maintenance. The programme of works, which began this summer, required the installation of 50,000 strengthening components including: 750 weld dressings, 2,500 strengthening plates, 48,000 bolts and 1,000 paint sections.

Working on a series of overnight shifts to minimise disruption, temporary cover plates were used to maintain traffic flow during daytime while the new expansion joins were lifted into position by the Ainscough team under contract lift conditions using a Liebherr LTM 1055-3 crane.

Dave Smith, one of Ainscough Crane Hire’s Contract Lift Managers and the Appointed Person for the lift said: “All lifts require planning but when your work means that of one of the busiest stretches of motorway in the land is out of operation until you’ve completed what you need to do, the responsibility to ensure an efficient delivery is all the more important.

“This efficiency is derived from the detailed planning we go through to ensure we are where we need to be, when we need to be and have the appropriate machinery and experienced personnel to deliver for our customer and for the wider public. Timing was so critical on this project that we undertook some additional test lift of the expansion joins so we could guarantee the timings we needed for the ‘live’ lift.

“This was a textbook example of how we work: we help deliver major changes in a safe and professional manner almost without people noticing what we’ve done.”

Prior to the final positioning lifts of the expansion joins, Ainscough had previously worked at the site lifting the joins into safe storage from road transport vehicles.

The Ainscough lift team included: Leslie Bailey – Operator, Darren Sharp – Operator, Phil Rogers – Lift Supervisor, Steve Willis – Hiab Driver and Lee Andrews – Onsite Fitter.