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Ainscough Working with J Murphy & Sons on Great North Rail Project

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Ainscough Crane Hire has once again worked with its 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.

Earlier this year, Ainscough worked with J Murphy & Sons to replace a bridge at Warrington Bank Quay station over the Easter weekend and work took place to replace a bridge span on Warrington Central Viaduct more recently.

The two companies’ latest collaboration along with other contractors 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.

Existing twin-track railway lines, steel underbridge, and pad stones were replaced with new precast concrete Cills, two weathering steel u-decks & four approach L-units. The bridge track panels were upgraded with new concrete sleepers.

Each u-deck weighed 146.0 tonnes and had an overall span length of 24.6m, some of the largest non-standard u-decks constructed in recent times.

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Ainscough utilised its Terex Demag TC2800-1 crane during the successful completion of the bridge reconstruction, assisted with Murphy’s on-track plant. The crane is rigged on the 60.0m SSL configuration and up to 300.0te in the Superlift Split Tray. The existing bridge, Cill units, and new decks required SL counterweight so the placement of all items required before the possession was critical for the programme timings.

The bridge that was being removed incorporated a large skew and comprised three longitudinal beams, all of which were offset because of the skew. Ainscough utilised a six-point lift with remote load cells on the bridge central beam. The load cells along with the crane loading allowed for a precisely controlled lift.

Dave Baxter, technical contracts manager, Ainscough Crane Hire, said: “Over recent years we’ve developed a close working relationship with the engineering team at J Murphy & Sons. Together with Paul Williams, the Contractor’s Responsible Engineer at J. Murphy & Sons, we developed the lifting scheme as we have with many other bridges that have helped improve the rail infrastructure across the country – it’s been a privilege to be part of work that will enhance the daily life of individuals and communities all over the UK.

“Railway possessions like the project we’ve just completed at South Lane are complex and highly time-sensitive jobs that require meticulous planning and a commitment from all parties to collaboration. The relationship with J Murphy & Sons means we work together exceptionally well with a ‘one team ethos in delivering infrastructure improvements in a manner that is safe, efficient, and causes the least possible disruption to the rail network, motorists, and local communities.”

Ainscough’s team for the work included Dave Hodgeson, Chris Beasley, Dave Richardson, and Kyle Nelson.

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