Palfinger custom lifts for Eurotunnel
By Euan Youdale30 August 2021
Palfinger has supplied a tailor-made solution for maintenance work to the Eurotunnel, which connects the UK and France under the English Channel.
The 16 customised, rail mounted PA1500 scissor lift platforms will operate along a 50.54km stretch, up to 40m below the sea.
Palfinger Railway developed the model for its British partner GOS Tool Engineering Services, as part of a large-scale order for new service units for the Eurotunnel, otherwise known as the Channel Tunnel.
The rail link between London and Paris is used by 20 million passengers a year, with 270 trains covering the distance each day, and departing every three minutes at peak times.
Now, 27 years after the tunnel was opened, it is also helping to supply power. A high-voltage direct current power cable is being installed in the tunnel to allow electricity to flow between the UK and France.
A risk assessment carried out by Eurotunnel found that the power line was most likely to be damaged by a standard crane or an access platform during routine maintenance work. Therefore, GOS and Palfinger Railway was tasked with finding a way of ruling out the risk.
The two companies have worked on numerous projects as partners for many years and their long cooperation proved particularly valuable during the Covid pandemic.
For work in conditions such as the Eurotunnel, horizontal and vertical movement limiting devices that meet PLd (Performance Level d) in line with the EN 13849 safety-related standard are required for specialised railway cranes and platforms. The new PA1500 scissor lifts, developed as a custom-made small series, meet these requirements.
The platform has a safe working load of 1.5 tonnes and can work at an inclination of 10 degrees when fully laden. The basket is 6m long, and the width is adjustable from 2.9m to 4.5m, giving a maximum working space of nearly 30 square metres. The platform’s modular construction means it can be used on a wide variety of vehicles.
By engaging the synchronous operation mode, every movement of two scissor lift platforms mounted one behind the other can be controlled simultaneously using a remote control.
Partnership and trust
Apart from the PA1500 platforms, the order also includes two PKR 800 railway cranes, six PR 220 cranes, two PA 200 platforms and other equipment. “GOS knows that we deliver top quality, always focus on solutions and adapt our work to each customer’s requirements,” says Christian Prantl, head of sales Palfinger Railway. “A strong partnership and deep mutual trust are the key elements in this project’s success.”