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31st December 2021



The year began with Ainscough demonstrating its nautical prowess by working with Mitchell Demolition Ltd to lift a historic vessel at the Albert Edward Dock in North Shields. Once a diving support vehicle and latterly a restaurant ship on the River Thames near Embankment, the vessel had become increasingly difficult to maintain and so its owner decided the time was right to bring the vessel’s amazing journey to an end.

We played a pivotal role in helping to protect homes and businesses from flooding by installing a new lifting flood gate at York’s Foss flood barrier. Installation of the new 18-tonne gate was ordered following extensive flooding on Boxing Day 2015 after water from the River Foss burst into the city centre.

This month, we broke new ground for the crane industry by welcoming the debut intake of the first-ever crane operator apprenticeship programme.
The three-year course offers participants a gateway into the crane industry while they are supported by Ainscough in gaining the required skills and qualifications.

Our reputation as an industry leader was further confirmed this month as we proudly unveiled the purchase of the UK’s first-ever Liebherr LTM1650-8.1 crane. The new model is capable of lifting 15-20% more capacity than its predecessor – the LTM 1500-8.1 – and is designed to save fuel and reduce noise. It also features a faster rigging time of only 2.5 hours, dramatically increasing the time-efficiency of a lift.

“This is a very proud day for Ainscough Crane Hire”, said Derek Gow, Commercial Director at Ainscough Crane Hire. “The LTM1650-8-1 is a highly impressive crane, and its arrival in the UK opens new opportunities for lifts in this country.”

As Covid-19 restrictions lifted and punters returned to the racetrack, Ainscough undertook essential refurbishment work at the Champions Gallery Restaurant at Newmarket Racecourse in Suffolk with a new safety glass that would retain its integrity in the result of fracture.

Also this month, Ainscough’s growth plans continued apace, with further details revealed of the £30m first stage of our crane investment programme, and the announcement that 37 new cranes would be added to our fleet by the end of the year.

In June, we bid a fond farewell to our wonderful colleague Richard Breedon after 45 exemplary years of service to the business. As his time working at our Stockton depot came to an end, Richard reflected that “Ainscough has been an amazing company to work for. It is very forward-thinking, with new training always available, and whilst I’ve seen a lot of changes over the years, the company has always been safety conscious and dedicated to looking after its people. I’ll miss the team immensely, and would like to thank them all for some very happy memories.”

This month, our work on a pivotal upgrading project of a railway bridge above the River Ebbw, which runs adjacent to the A467 in Crumlin, Wales, demonstrated the importance of early engagement with crane providers.

We helped give a new lease of life to a historic Pacer train this month. Following Northern’s retirement of the trains, the Department for Transport ran a competition to find innovative new uses for Pacer carriages.

Platform 1, a men’s mental health charity, was one of three winners of the Transform a Pacer competition and converted their Pacer into a kitchen to teach cooking skills to those they support. The charity, located at the former Platform 1 of Huddersfield Station, already uses retired train carriages as a safe space, counselling, and learning environment to help hundreds of local men deal with mental health issues. It was a pleasure to lift this Pacer into its new home.

The first LTM 1650-8.1 crane in the UK undertook work on its first major project since it became part of Ainscough Crane Hire’s fleet earlier in the year.
The 650t crane was deployed by Ainscough on its work lifting beams into place on the new Bletchley Flyover, which forms part of one of the most prestigious projects in the UK infrastructure pipeline, East West Rail Connection Stage 1.

Also this month, we had the absolute privilege of welcoming Laura Nuttall to our Leyland depot. Laura, a 21-year-old second-year Manchester University politics, philosophy and economics student suffers from brain cancer, and when we discovered operating a crane was on her bucket list we were more than happy to help her dream come true.
To find out more about Laura and to support her fundraising efforts, visit:

In September, we worked with our regular client J Murphy & Sons as part of Network Rail’s £2.85m Great North Rail Project, helping to secure the future of rail journeys between Manchester and Liverpool.

This collaboration saw a 56-hour core possession that entailed the replacement of the 200.0te MAJ89 bridge at South Lane, Widnes – a steel half through rail underbridge on the Manchester Castlefield Junction to Hunts Cross West Junction lines.

The following month, our ability to deliver expert lifting solutions for major infrastructure projects – even to tight deadlines – was demonstrated in Birmingham as we delivered a crucial element of the second phase of the Birmingham Westside Metro extension, which will bring Metro services from the current Library terminus to Edgbaston Village. Ainscough’s Heavy Cranes team installed a vital substation at short notice, ensuring minimal disruption to the people of Birmingham.

As the world descended on Glasgow for the crucial COP26 conference, Ainscough reiterated its commitment to tackling climate change by collaborating with a range of companies from different industries. We were proud to support the installation of the 23m high Hope Sculpture in the beautiful woodland park of Cuningar Loop, part of Clyde Gateway, Scotland’s biggest and most ambitious regeneration programme.

The sculpture was constructed using low carbon, reclaimed, recycled or sustainable materials, of which, almost all were locally sourced. It served as a showcase of how industry, organisations and people are committed to build more sustainably, as we transition to a net-zero future.
This month, we also came to the aid of our client Network Rail in the aftermath of the Salisbury train crash. After being contacted hours after the crash, Ainscough prepared a lifting proposal that would see an 800t mobile crane in conjunction with a rail crane recover and remove the rail carriages.

As the year ended, we celebrated our work on another key moment in the early stages of HS2.

On 3rd December, HS2 CEO Mark Thurston pushed the button to start a 2,000t tunnel boring machine (TBM) on its journey under Long Itchington Wood in Warwickshire, marking the launch of the first TBM on the Midlands section of HS2. Ainscough was appointed to assemble the TBM, entailing installing the cutter head along with the three support gantries and then fitting a tunnel seal can on the portal face of HS2’s Long Itchington Wood TBM.

On behalf of everyone at Ainscough Crane Hire, we wish you all a merry Christmas and a happy new year – we look forward to working with you again in 2022.

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