Custom model for the Eurotunnel
The railway tunnel under the English Channel becomes a trans-European power highway and Palfinger has supplied a tailor-made solution for maintenance work with the highest safety standards: the PA1500 scissor lift platform.
Some PA1500 scissor lift platforms operate along a 50.54km stretch, 40m below the surface of the sea. Palfinger Railway developed this custom-made model for its British partner GOS Tool Engineering Services Ltd. as part of a large-scale order for new service units for the Eurotunnel.
The rail link between London and Paris is used by 20 million passengers a year. To carry them, 270 trains cover the distance every day, departing every three minutes at peak times. Now the tunnel is also helping to supply power to Europe. 27 years after it was opened, a high-voltage direct current power cable is being installed in the Channel Tunnel to allow an exchange of electricity between Great Britain and France. A risk assessment carried out by Eurotunnel found that the power line was most likely to be damaged by a crane or an access platform during routine maintenance work. GOS and Palfinger Railway were given the task of finding a way of ruling out this risk.
The two companies have worked on numerous projects as partners for many years. Their cooperation proved particularly valuable in Covid year 2020. Fixed deadlines and virtual acceptances coupled with great flexibility and a strong focus on solutions enabled Palfinger to meet Eurotunnel’s expectations.
For work in conditions such as these, horizontal and vertical movement limiting devices that meet PLd (Performance Level d) in line with the EN 13849 safety-related standard are indispensable for specialized 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 1.5t and can work at an inclination of 10deg when fully laden. The basket is 6m long, and the width is adjustable from 2.9 to 4.5m, giving a maximum working space of nearly 30msq. The platform’s modular construction means it can be used on a wide variety of vehicles. By engaging synchronous operation mode, every movement of two scissor lift platforms mounted one behind the other can be controlled simultaneously using a remote control. “The scissor lifts are impressive,” says Carl Jones, director of rail engineering at Gos. “The tremendous engineering quality of the details sets Palfinger apart.”
Apart from the PA1500 platforms, the order also includes two PKR 800 railway cranes, six PR 220 cranes incl. BB 29 and BB 49 baskets, 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.”