Mechan traversers

Two Mechan traversers are to be used at Hitachi Rail’s new rail vehicle manufacturing facility in County Durham.

The Newton Aycliffe facility is using a pair of 80t traversers developed by Sheffield-based Mechan to move vehicles along the production line.

Richard Carr, chief executive of the rail depot equipment specialist, visited Hitachi Rail’s first European rail vehicle manufacturing facility on 3 September for its inauguration by Prime Minister David Cameron. It will employ 730 people and supply electric and bi-mode trains to the East Coast and Great Western mainlines, as part of the government’s InterCity Express Programme (IEP).

Mechan’s traversers use a rail-mounted bridge to move carriages between 33 tracks inside the facility and out to the test area. The internal unit was specified with a bespoke low profile design and 4m-long hydraulic ramps, to allow traffic to pass through the traverser pit when it is not in use. The external installation has a more conventional construction and was fitted with a canopy to protect Hitachi Rail’s new vehicles from the elements.

The traversers, designed, built and installed by Mechan, are part of a series of orders from IEP facilities across the UK. The firm has supplied a set of 40 lifting jacks and an equipment drop to North Pole in west London and a further two equipment drops to Stoke Gifford near Bristol. It is currently working on a three road equipment drop, 40 lifting jacks and two bogie turntables for a new train maintenance centre being constructed in Doncaster.

Richard said: "It was an honour to attend Hitachi Rail’s official opening ceremony and see firsthand the integral part our equipment is playing in this impressive facility. No two traversers are ever the same and their design and implementation is always a challenge due to their sheer size. We have worked closely with the project team at Newton Aycliffe to ensure these behemoths perform efficiently and everyone is very pleased with the result."