Spider excavators used for West Coast main line bank stabilisation08 September 2021

Work is now complete to protect the West Coast main line from landslips to provide more reliable journeys for rail passengers between Wolverhampton and Stafford; a £5m investment by Network Rail has seen engineers move thousands of tonnes of earth to secure 1.3km of the railway south of Penkridge.

The improved embankments and cuttings are located on a branch of the West Coast main line, one of the most important railway corridors in the country.

Large stretches of sloped lineside have been re-profiled with new stone to make it more stable, and slope gradients have been reduced.

More than 11,000 tonnes of earth was removed during the protection project and 19,000 tonnes of new stone was laid.

Because of the steep locations, specialist spider excavators have been used to carry out the work, namely the Menzi Muck M545, supplied by Kelly Earthmoving. Rather than tracks, the vehicle manoeuvres on rubber tyres located at the ends of four hydraulically-supported legs. A telescoping boom extends the reach of the machine’s bucket.

Sole UK and Ireland dealer of the Swiss-made machines is Exc@v8 of Kendal.

Operations Engineer

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