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3rd June 2021


Ainscough Crane Hire has worked with the steel fabrication company, Briton Fabricators Limited, to assist with the construction of the Luton DART, a light metro that will be used to transport passengers from Luton Airport Parkway Railway Station to Luton Airport.

The Luton Airport Parkway Railway Station is located in Park Town and is used to transport passengers to Luton Airport on the St. Pancras line from Central London. The airport is currently ranked as the UK’s fifth busiest with over 16.5 million people passing through in 2018.

In 2016, Luton Airport’s owner put forward plans to connect the airport and station with a Cable Liner, a range of automated people mover products designed by Doppelmayr Cable Car and capable of transporting around 7,000 people per hour. The new system will replace the existing shuttle bus in order to relieve vehicle traffic and allow for a higher capacity of passengers. The system is scheduled to open in 2022.

In March of this year, Ainscough Crane Hire was hired by Briton Fabricators to assist with the planning and installation of a new elevated external walkway at the Parkway Railway Station. The new bridge has been manufactured by the company and will run parallel to the railway line and platform to create an access route for service users.

Work took place over a week‐long period during night shifts to avoid disruptions to rail services. The job involved installing five modular prefabricated units of varying weights and sizes, approximately 15.5 metres x 4.4 metres x 5.9 metres, with a maximum weight of 32.5 tonnes.

Due to the busy footfall in the station, the lift had to be meticulously planned, with the design team prioritising safety and accuracy in order to achieve the required lift capabilities whilst adhering to Network Rail’s busy timetable requirements.

Given the lift’s proximity to the railway line, various crane setup locations had to be decided upon for each module in order to minimise slewing towards the railway line, as well as avoid existing building clashes. The team spent many hours refining the lift plans to ensure they met the highest standard of service for the client.

Ainscough supplied two cranes to complete the lift as part of a crane hire. Following calculations by the Ainscough planning team, the Liebherr LTM 1500‐8.1 was chosen, rigged with a 165t counterweight, as well as a Liebherr LTM 1250‐6.1, rigged with a 97.5 t counterweight. The largest of the five radiuses the team worked to was 35 metres.

James Storey, CAD technician at Ainscough Crane Hire, said: “This was a challenging lift to plan due to the number of environmental and time constraints we had to design around for the Parkway Station. However, thanks to the expertise of our team, the bridge was installed on time and with minimal disruption to the site and its service users.
“The new Luton DART transport system is just one of many key infrastructure projects which we will help to build thanks to our recent crane investment programme. The new models will give our customers access to the highest‐standard of crane technology and will play a major role in the COVID‐19 recovery effort in the coming years.”

Dean Morcom, commercial director at Britons Ltd, said: “The complexity in this project culminated in short possession shifts for installation so it was important that the communication leading up to the crane arrival and set up was accurate and clear to allow our client and Network Rail to understand and approve our methodology. Crane positioning between new buildings, their expensive facades, and the railway, was planned meticulously between our appointed person and Ainscough Crane Hire’s s drawing office and went ahead without a hitch. This is what is expected of us at Britons and is why Ainscough was our chosen plant provider on this project.”

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