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.”