Crossrail, despite its well-publicised problems, is still a major feat of engineering. Driving over 42 kilometres of new tunnels under London, through a space which is already full of other tunnels and buried services, was a major undertaking.
Now those tunnels are being fitted with the latest railway systems, with all that implies in terms of passenger safety, train operations and fire prevention.
Throughout the construction stages of the central section, which spans from Westbourne Park to Plumstead and Pudding Mill Lane, over 350 of Bilco UK’s innovative aluminium Ladder Up® Safety Posts have been specified by Crossrail’s systemwide contractor Alstom TSO Costain Joint Venture (ATC Systemwide) to provide safe and secure access.
Weighing just seven kilograms due to the milled aluminium construction, the resilient Ladder Up Safety Posts will provide engineers with unobstructed access to the walkways when conducting essential maintenance throughout the tunnels, once the line is operational.
The specification process, managed by contractors McNealy Brown, focused on the requirement for durable yet functional access solutions that would consistently provide a safe and direct step through onto the walkway, without impacting on the surrounding electrical services.
The unique and high-quality construction of the Ladder Up Safety Post fulfilled each requirement of the brief. This includes features such as the innovative telescopic post, which mounts permanently to the top two rungs of any fixed ladder to provide a secure handhold that enables the user to enter or exit the opening in an upright and balanced position.
Clive Burfoot, contract manager at McNealy Brown, said: “When we first began researching potential access solutions for the Crossrail project’s central section, it became clear quite quickly that the Bilco UK Ladder Up Safety Post was the only product available on the UK market that would fulfil our extensive list of requirements.
“The telescopic extension was one of the main benefits that secured its specification for this project, as it enables the Ladder Up safety post to be both retracted and extended, a key function that wasn’t available with any other access solution.”
Each ladder has been installed with two Ladder Up Safety Posts, which are located on either side of the ladder to provide the direct step through onto the walkway for increased safety and efficiency.