Heavylift / Breakbulk
Digging a tunnel through London
WWL ALS, a 3PL logistics service provider and heavylift specialist that engages in international activities, recently organised the relocation of a large tunnel-boring machine in the British capital. Police traffic restrictions meant that the largest items for delivery were only allowed to move on Sunday mornings.
WWL ALS, the abnormal loads division of Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics, was confronted by an extremely challenging operation recently, when it was asked to move the components of a tunnel-boring machine from St John’s Wood in central London to Haringey in the north of the huge city.
The consignments had to be split up into four separate loads for transportation, including the cutting head, the shield main drive, the machine can and the tailskin, the last of which housed the plant equipment’s entire energy and steering components. The heaviest piece weighed in at 105 t, and was 4.4 m long with a 4.7 m diameter. The shield main drive as well as the tailskin could only be moved to their new location thanks to a special order issued by the national highways agency.
Easy on Sunday mornings
The delivery of the tunnel-boring machine was completed over a two-week period, with each separate delivery taking approximately four hours for the 9 km journey from the shaft portal site in St John’s Wood to the final site in the London borough of Haringey – home to Tottenham Hotspurs’ famous White Hart Lane stadium. The deliveries were spread over this period on account of police restrictions. The largest items were only allowed to move on the roads on consecutive Sunday mornings.
WWL ALS subcontracted the use of a vessel-bridge trailer to transport the 23 t and 40 t pieces, and a modular trailer with a drawbar unit for the heavier pieces, which weighed in at the rather more hefty 103 and 105 t.
WWL ALS prepared detailed route surveys in advance, considering multiple bridge heights and street furniture locations and taking data supplied by Network Rail and the British Waterways Board in account.
It also required close liaison with the Highways Agency, the local City of Westminster authority, the Borough Councils of Camden and Haringey, through which the transport passed, the Metropolitan Police and Transport for London. WWL ALS was thus particularly happy to complete the task on time.