July 29 - Multimodal logistics operator Collett & Sons has successfully transported nine 185-tonne transformers from Dartford, Greater London to the Drax power station in Selby, North Yorkshire, UK.

The relocation of the transformers, each of which measured 5.08 m x 3.5 m x 6.5 m, was brought about by the closure of the Littlebrook power station in March 2015.

Each transformer was moved from Littlebrook to Thamesport on the Isle of Grain, where the nine units were consolidated into two ro-ro barge shipments and delivered directly to the Port of Goole. The transformers were stored at Collett's heavy lift terminal

in Goole prior to the final 5 mile (8 km) onward transport to Drax.

The logistics of transporting these heavy cargoes from Littlebrook to Thamesport would provide the biggest challenge. Collett's consulting division undertook route studies and site visits to calculate a safe route. Having liaised with local authorities, councils and constabularies, an agreed route was firmly in place and in March, Collett mobilised its fleet and headed for Littlebrook power station to begin the first of the transformer moves.

Due to the position of the transformers Collett used its heavy-duty jacking and skidding system to manoeuvre the cargoes, ready for lifting and loading onto specialised trailers.

Space limitations within Littlebrook required each transformer to be skidded 6 m, before turning 90 degrees and skidding a further 18 m to safely clear the confines of the power station. The transformers were then turned a further 90 degrees to position for loading.

Collett utilised its girder bridge to complete the 24-mile (38.6 km) journey to Thamesport. Travelling with three tractor units - two in push pull formation and one in support - four police escorts and two pilot cars, the convoy left Littlebrook power station.

Due to combination's overall loaded weight of 390 tonnes, 16-tonne per axle ground pressure and 71 m x 5.19 m dimensions, Collett was unable to use the bridge over the M25 motorway at Littlebrook interchange.

As a result, a rolling roadblock was put in place on both the northbound and southbound carriageways of the M25. This allowed the entire girder bridge to contraflow two roundabouts and utilise the northbound sliproad to gain access to the M25.

Once on the motorway Collett's reversed the entire combination for half-a-mile (0.8 km) across the central reservation and along the southbound carriageway, allowing access to exit 1A and onward transport to Thamesport.

Having negotiated 18 roundabouts, undertaken several contraflow manoeuvres, implemented temporary traffic restriction orders and employed manual steering practices at select points along the route, approximately six hours after departing from Littlebrook the transformer arrived safely at Thamesport.

Over the following weeks the remaining transformers were consolidated at Thamesport.

Collett then chartered Robert Wynn and Sons' Terra Marique ro-ro barge, which features a hydraulic roadway and ballast system allowing for the vessel to load on varying quay heights. Each transformer was loaded onto self-propelled modular transporters (SPMT) and conventional axles, before being positioned on Terra Marique. The first shipment consisted of three transformers, with a second shipment of six transformers completed a few weeks later.
With the loads arriving safely in Goole, Collett began work discharging the transformers, once again utilising SPMTs and conventional axles. Each transformer then made the short journey to Collett's Goole heavy lift facility for storage on stools for ease of re-loading.

When required, each transformer was delivered from Goole to the Drax power station where each unit was manoeuvred into position for storage using the jacking and skidding system.

HLPFI reported in July 2014 that Collett completed a similar project, delivering six transformers to the Drax power station.  http://www.heavyliftpfi.com/news/scheuerle-goes-for-gold_2.html