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Maintaining the Eurotunnel

PALFINGER designs, engineers and manufactures custom model for the Eurotunnel.

The railway tunnel under the English Channel becomes a trans-European power highway. PALFINGER recently supplied a tailor-made solution for maintenance work featuring the highest safety standards.

PALFINGER Railway developed the PA1500 custom-made scissor-lift platform for its British partner GOS Tool Engineering Services Ltd. as part of a large-scale order for new service units for the Eurotunnel. They operate along a 50.54-kilometre stretch, 40 meters below the surface of the sea.

High voltage under the English Channel

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.

Successful partnership

The two companies have worked on numerous projects as partners for many years. Their excellent 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.

Tailor-made and perfectly engineered

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 1.5 tons and can work at an inclination of 10° when fully laden. The basket is six meters long, and the width is adjustable from 2.9 to 4.5 meters, giving a maximum working space of nearly 30 m². 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,” comments Carl Jones, director of rail engineering at GOS. “The tremendous engineering quality of the details sets PALFINGER apart.”

Partnership and trust

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.”

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