Ainscough Crane Hire provided urgent lifting solutions to support Network Rail in the aftermath of the recent Salisbury train crash, UK.

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Two passenger trains collided on the approach to a tunnel near Salisbury station on October 31. Ainscough Crane Hire was contacted by Network Rail several hours after the crash. Ainscough’s technical contracts manager for heavy cranes, Dave Baxter, travelled from the northwest and was in Wiltshire by 07:00 the next day to meet the Network Rail team.

The five carriages that had to be removed from the tracks could not be jacked or lifted by a rail crane in isolation. Instead, Ainscough prepared a lifting proposal that would see an 800-tonne lifting capacity mobile crane, in conjunction with a rail crane, recover and remove the carriages.

Ainscough mobilised the 800-tonne crane from its previous jobsite near Rochdale, to enable it to rig up with an assist crane on a closed section of the A30 London Road in Salisbury. The five carriages were lifted onto lorries and transported to the Long Marston Rail Innovation Centre.

Andrew Spink, heavy cranes operations director for Ainscough Crane Hire said: “This is the sort of job we hope we never have to work on, as doing so means there has been an incident which has put people’s safety in danger.

“Such incidents are thankfully rare in the UK, but we as a business stand ready to support our colleagues in the rail industry whenever we are needed. Therefore, when the call came through from Network Rail regarding the Salisbury crash, we immediately set to work in exploring the best lifting solution to clear the tracks and allow the repairing of the railway line and signalling equipment.

“It was unfortunately inevitable that the closure of such a busy road would cause disruption to the local community, but we were able to complete the lift programme as quickly as possible in order to minimise that inconvenience.”