Ainscough has completed a challenging dockside lift at the Port of Blyth in Northumberland.

The team lifted a 240-tonne VLS (Vertical Lay System) tower from a transportation barge onto a series of SPMT (self-propelled modular transporter) trailers following the VLS’ return to shore for maintence and temporary storage.

The VLS is an off-shore machine which is use to lay cable on the sea bed. These are often used to connect off-shore wind turbines to on-shore electricity sub-stations.

The team used a Terex CC 2500-1 crawler crane, configured with a 48 SSL boom, 40 tonne central ballast, 160 tonne counterweight and 150 tonne super-counterweight to deliver the lift.

Andrew Winter, Heavy Cranes Operations Director was very pleased with the professionalism and approach of the team. He said: “This lift was a significant undertaking with many variables to take into consideration.

“Lifting something of this size and mass from a floating barge is not something which can be undertaken at the drop of a hat. There are many hours of assessment and planning which are the key elements which lead to a successful lift.

“The lift itself might look straight-forward on the day, but it is only so because of that planning and the experience we bring to bear on such lifts.”

Kevin Vyse, Port of Blyth’s Senior Operations Manager, added: “The lift from a Port of Blyth point of view went very well – it was carried out safely and professionally by the Ainscough team, which is something we’ve come to expect from them. They provide a consistently good service and we enjoy working with them.”

Following this job, Ainscough have delivered other lifts at the port.


Ainscough has appointed Charles Bithell as its Chief Financial Officer. Charles has over 15 years experience in senior financial roles in both listed and private equity backed service businesses.

Ainscough has also announced that Sales Director, Leigh Webb will leave the business to become Sales Director at plant hire company, Ardent Hire Solutions. All Ainscough Sales and Marketing operations will now be combined and headed by Derek Gow, Sales and Marketing Director. Derek has been responsible for Ainscough’s marketing operations for the last 2½ years in his role as Commercial Director.

Commenting on the changes CEO, Janet Entwistle said “Charles brings a wealth of experience and I am delighted to welcome him to my Board. Leigh has built a strong sales team over the last 3½ years and we wish him success in the future. Bringing our Sales and Marketing activity together under Derek Gow will support our future development. Derek and Leigh have worked closely together over the last few years which will ensure a smooth transition for our customers”.


Ainscough’s Lancaster Depot has come to the rescue of a World War Two relic in the Cumbrian town of Barrow in Furness.

According to reports in the North West Evening Mail, the concrete pillbox (a defensive installation) was found on land off Ramsden Dock Road where Cumbria County Council is carrying out clearance works for the Barrow Waterfront project.

The article went on to explain that although the construction company was aware the structure was buried underground, they were amazed to discover it was completely intact.

After being approached by residents on Barrow Island, Cumbria County Council decided to take steps to carefully remove and preserve the pillbox.

Project lead, David Haughian said: “The removal of the pillbox had been a delicate procedure. We were aware there was going to be a pillbox on the site but because of the vegetation and ecology, it was difficult to determine its condition until we dug it out.

“We cleared the site and it became evident that the whole structure was there intact. A number of local people had said they would like to see it preserved and utilised.”

Ainscough’s Lancaster depot manager, Paul Haigh said: “Lifting the pillbox was an interesting challenge as they are a rather unusual size and shape. Of course we delivered the lift without any problems and we were pleased to be involved in something connected to a part of the town and country’s past.”

Having checked with conservation authorities, the pillbox was not one which had been listed by English Heritage, and so an operation was launched to lift and move the structure.

Mr Haughian said: “Contractors excavated round the structure and then undermined it in order to get the lifting gear underneath. It was then lifted onto a crane and moved to a landscaped area of the waterfront.”

About 28,000 pillboxes and other hardened field fortifications were constructed in England in 1940 as part of the British anti-invasion preparations. Around 6,500 of these structures still survive.

Although a future location for the relic has not yet been selected, it is hoped it will be positioned within the waterfront site, possibly as an artistic feature.


A new bridge which was installed by Ainscough to connect the suburbs of Currock and Denton Holme in Carlisle, Cumbria, has won the Institute for Civil Engineers Community (ICE) Award in the North West Civil Engineering Awards.

The category recognises those projects which deliver best-practice engagement with the local community.

Connecting the two suburbs across the Cumbrian coast railway line between Lund Crescent and Bousteads Grassing, the new bridge replaced the existing structure which has subsequently been removed. Along with creating a connection to an existing footpath, the new bridge also creates a continuous cycle link from Currock along the River Caldew, north to Carlisle city centre, and south to Dalston.

Councillor Stewart Young, a leader of Cumbria County Council, said: “This project forms part of a £7.8 million programme of investment in transport and infrastructure in Cumbria, which was secured by the LEP and Cumbria County Council. It follows years of campaigning by local residents and Councillors for this much-needed improvement. I am particularly pleased that the main contractor has been able to use so many of our local businesses to help contribute to this scheme. The new bridge will be a testament to their skill and dedication for many years to come.”

Ainscough used a Liebherr LTM 1500-8.1, a 500 tonne all-terrain mobile crane rigged with a guyed main boom and 165 tonnes of counterweight to complete the lift.


Ainscough Crane Hire’s heavy cranes team have helped the owners of the Palm Paper Mill in Kings Lynn, Norfolk, return to production after the plant was damaged by fire.

Firefighters were involved in bringing the blaze under control at the mill which is situated on the town’s Saddlebow Industrial Estate.

Using a Terex CC2800-1 crawler crane, the team completed a series of lifts which were delivered alongside a static tower crane which was on site for use in construction.

With lightweight roof panels and various internal items removed by the tower crane, the crawler crane was brought in to first remove three concrete roof trusses which were too heavy for the tower crane to handle. This gave access to the heavy items inside the building which needed to be removed including three 100 tonne paper reams and a 25 tonne double gantry crane.

In addition, a Liebherr LTM 1500-8.1 all-terrain mobile crane was used to remove the integral gantry crane and for the installation of a new model before the roof trusses could be installed and the roof covering restored.

Heavy cranes’ project engineer, Igor Scalas, said: “The real challenge of the project was operating in very tight proximity to the static tower crane. Clearly these were difficult circumstances for the mill operators and we had to deliver a number of challenging lifts and deliver them safely. We achieved everything we set out to do and our work on this part of the project has led to subsequent work on the site.”

The plant produces 400,000 tonnes of high-quality newsprint paper every year.


An archived story back from when Ainscough began working on the Crossrail Project, now nearing completion. Leading lifting solutions company, Ainscough Crane Hire, helped assemble a large-format gantry crane at Tottenham Court Road underground station in central London as part of the £15 billion Crossrail project.

Supplied by Britain’s biggest industrial crane and hoist manufacturer, Street Crane, the 40 tonne double girder gantry crane and was installed on Oxford Street to service the construction of the major transport infrastructure project.

The crane was used to lift spoil skips, lowering tunnel segments and other pre-cast elements for the Crossrail tunnel and new Tottenham Court Road western ticket hall. It was used 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to help excavate 35,000 cubic metres of material over a six month period.

Mark Hadfield, Marketing Manager at Street Crane said: “It was really interesting for us to witness the skill and precision the Ainscough crane operators used while assembling the gantry crane. It is not something you would normally see on one of, if not the country’s busiest shopping street. It was quite a sight.

“All the lifts proceeded without a hitch, which enabled our team to get on the site and play a small but significant role in the realisation of the Crossrail project.”

The Ainscough team used three Liebherr mobile all-terrain cranes to complete the assembly: an LTM 1070-4.1, a 75 tonne crane, an LTM 1100/2, a 100 tonne crane and a LTM 1055-3.2, a 55 tonne machine. The cranes were used in different configurations to lift and tail the gantry crane sections which included a 15,800kg trailing beam along with a 17,900kg main beam and platform and both beams were 36.5 metres in length.

Crossrail is a 73-mile railway line under development in London and the home counties of Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Essex. The central section and a large portion of the line (between Paddington in central London and Abbey Wood in the south-east) are due to open in December 2017.


The UK’s leading lifting solutions company, Ainscough Crane Hire, has marked National Apprenticeship Week by catching up with some of this years’ intake to find out how their time with the company has been as they approach the end of their first year.

Ainscough’s apprenticeship scheme is delivered in partnership with Myerscough College in Preston and the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) and had recruited seven apprentices across the 32 depot network in 2016.

The seven apprentices are completing a four-year NVQ qualification in Plant Maintenance which includes time based at the college’s £4.4 million Engineering Centre, home to its Construction Plant Academy. Ainscough has a mobile crane permanently at the college to enhance the apprentice’s learning experience.

Graham Weights, service support manager, is a part of the team which has overseen the latest intake of apprentices, said: “Crane hire is a niche business and if we don’t train our own engineers for the future we simply won’t have the talent available to us when we need it. At a recent count from 82 engineers, 25 had come through the Ainscough apprenticeship route which demonstrates the importance of this talent stream for the business.

“We take a strategic approach to apprentice numbers these days, factoring in the existing resource and its likely attrition rate over the four year cycle. This means that we have a 90% retention rate of those apprentices which make the grade, the majority of whom do so.

“We have been very impressed with the attitude and approach of this year’s apprentices so far and we are very confident that they will grow with us over the coming months and years.”

Charlie Ferguson, 19, from Gillingham, an apprentice at Ainscough’s Maidstone depot said: “My role is very hands-on and I service cranes on a daily basis, checking differential levels, gear boxes, hub levels and much more.

“Working for Ainscough is a great opportunity and I feel very lucky to be a part of the company. As an apprentice, I get to learn about cranes and in the future, I will be able to do more for Ainscough.”

Top row, left to right – Jack Kenworthy, Aiden Jones and Connor Dodgson. Front row, left to right – Charlie Ferguson, Sam Flynn and Kye Connop.


Ainscough Wind Energy Services has completed the installation of a Nordex N100 2.5 Megawatt wind turbine for Welsh Water at the company’s water treatment site in Newport.

Operators from Ainscough’s Heavy Cranes Division initially helped to lift the turbine from a barge on the River Usk before transporting it to the treatment facility.

The N100 measures 127-metres and is one of Nordex’s largest turbines, configured specifically for moderate and low wind conditions.

A Liebherr LTM 1500-8.1, a 500 tonne all-terrain mobile crane and a Liebherr LTM1250-6.1, a 250 tonne crane from Ainscough’s fleet were used to complete the lifts.

Ainscough Wind Energy Services erected the Nordex N100 hardware wind turbine on schedule. The wind turbine is now expected to be operational by the end of March.

Working alongside four crane drivers and a lift supervisor, site manager Sean Furnival said: “Despite being straight forward on paper, this wind turbine lift took hours of planning and preparation, as site conditions had to be brought into consideration.

“Monitoring the weather and co-operating with the customer, the lift was completed to a high-standard and it is testament to Ainscough’s skilled operators that the lifts were carried out in a safe and efficient manner.”


Ainscough Crane Hire have made investments to its crane fleet bringing in 15 additional cranes to what was already the UK’s largest and most diverse fleet.

Six of the new cranes are Tadano. They include; three 70 tonne cranes, two 100 tonne cranes and a 130 tonne all-terrain mobile crane.

In addition to these cranes, a further nine Liebherr cranes have been brought in. These include three city models, two 45 tonne cranes and a 50 tonne, along with a further six all-terrain mobile cranes consisting of a 40 tonne, a 50 tonne and three 55 tonne models.

All of the cranes have been safety checked and have been distributed throughout Ainscough Crane Hire’s 32 depot network

Graham Weights, service support manager, said: “We pride ourselves on having the largest and most diverse fleet of cranes operating in the UK. It is a key part of what makes us the number one in our sector.

“We will continue to make investments to the fleet to ensure we can continue to provide excellent levels of service to our customers.

These latest additions follow on from the acquisition of another Spierings mobile tower crane which went into service in January 2017.”