Sheffield-based Mechan has installed equipment at a fifth site associated with the Department for Transport’s flagship Intercity Express Programme (IEP).

The heavy lifting specialist received two orders from the Rail Innovation Development Centre near Melton Mowbray in Leicestershire, where the new high-speed trains are being trialled.

Working with civil engineers, Construction Marine, Mechan designed and fitted a bespoke bogie bridge that spans the width of an existing bogie drop pit, improving vehicle access into the rail shed. This contract follows a similar project undertaken at the site in 2008, when a bridge was required to cover a redundant pit.

Mechan has also supplied Network Rail, operators of the centre (formerly known as the Old Dalby Test Track), with eight 25t mobile lifting jacks with moving anvils, to enable the incoming IEP trains to be fully assessed. They will work as one synchronised set to give the facility the extra capacity to accommodate longer vehicles. Again, this follows a previous order for four 15t jacks, which are still in use.

Call for Mechan’s equipment and expertise has come from all areas of the IEP and the firm has already delivered lifting jacks and equipment drops to the Stoke Gifford and North Pole maintenance centres, plus two bespoke traversers to Hitachi Rail’s vehicle manufacturing facility in County Durham. A three road equipment drop, 40 lifting jacks and two bogie turntables are currently in production for another new depot being constructed in Doncaster.

Lee Pitts, Mechan’s sales engineer, said: "The Rail Innovation Development Centre is an historic site that has been given a new lease of life by Network Rail and we worked closely with our clients to ensure the equipment supplied met the current and future needs of the facility. Its role is to promote innovation and we believe our products are a great example of inventive engineering in practise."

The IEP will introduce high-speed electric and bi-mode trains on the Great Western and East Coast mainlines and this facility in Ashfordby is one of two Network Rail Innovation and Development Centres supporting the project. It runs off the Leicester to Peterborough line and includes all features associated with a modern rail network.