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Author Topic: Railway Cranes  (Read 1657 times)
grahame
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« on: May 16, 2021, 08:55:41 am »

Railway Cranes ... not a subject we have really touched on (not sure if that's because there's little to say about them, or because they're outside member's interest).   However, posting this morning a plea on the fate of a crane that was at Laira to pass the word out should anyone be interested.   In Llangollen, bought at an auction of assets from the receiver with a view to scrapping.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/61796596150/permalink/10161341167171151

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As has been mentioned elsewhere, our 50 ton Cowans Sheldon crane has been purchased by a scrap merchant, who we understand wishes to break it up on site. The crane is fully operational and certified until September. It is also an historic vehicle and we understand the only one of its kind left operational, having being built for the MOD as a steam crane, acquired by BR (British Rail(ways)) and converted to diesel operation, ending up as the Laira breakdown crane before coming to Llangollen many years ago. We understand the total purchase price (including VAT (Value Added Tax) and buyers premium) was around £35k. We have had the begging bowl out for some time now and many folk have already donated money to our successful appeals. However, if anyone wants to help try and make a last ditch attempt to save this historic and useful vehicle please contact the LR Trust as soon as possible (trustllanrail@gmail.com). Transporting the crane is likely to be prohibitively expensive and require partial dismantling, which is what is likely to have put other preservation purchasers off, so the most cost-effective and ideal solution (for us at least!) would be for the vehicle to stay on the railway.
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CyclingSid
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« Reply #1 on: May 17, 2021, 09:06:15 am »

Also a "small" piece of a now largely vanished British crane building industry.

The MoD bought quite a few cranes (in general), most of which were disposed of the through the sales at Ruddington at some time.

I tend to notice them in boat yards and marinas as I cycle along tow paths and the like.

Not sure how easy it is to get a current lifting certificate for things of that age.
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Lee
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« Reply #2 on: May 19, 2021, 02:32:22 pm »

The crane will now remain at Llangollen Railway, after a deal was struck for the new owners to collect the scrap that the railway has. Every skip that they pick up that will go towards repayment - https://www.shropshirestar.com/news/local-hubs/mid-wales/llangollen/2021/05/19/crane-will-stay-at-llangollen-railway-thanks-to-the-buyer/

The founder of the company had been a fireman/stoker on steam trains, based at Alsager near Crewe, and his son Allister Boote, the current company head, will be made an honorary member of the railway.

Quote from: Allister Boote
"I am sure my father would be proud of what we are doing."
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rower40
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« Reply #3 on: May 20, 2021, 09:35:53 am »

Sending a crane away for scrapping is such a tricky decision for a heritage railway. It’s a bit of a last resort - because:
A) once it’s gone, how do you load anything else for scrap onto the lorry?
B) how do you get the crane itself onto a lorry?
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Celestial
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« Reply #4 on: May 20, 2021, 10:45:08 am »

Sending a crane away for scrapping is such a tricky decision for a heritage railway. It’s a bit of a last resort - because:
A) once it’s gone, how do you load anything else for scrap onto the lorry?
B) how do you get the crane itself onto a lorry?

That wasn't the situation they were in though. It was sold by the administrators after the railway went into administration. There was no question of the railway "sending it away" for scrapping.  Great news that it has been saved though.
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rower40
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« Reply #5 on: May 20, 2021, 11:43:29 am »


That wasn't the situation they were in though. It was sold by the administrators after the railway went into administration. There was no question of the railway "sending it away" for scrapping.  Great news that it has been saved though.
Understood - I was just tickled by the image of a crane lifting itself up onto a lorry!  Shades of "picking oneself up by one's bootstraps" - the phrase from which "booting" a computer comes from.
« Last Edit: May 20, 2021, 11:52:11 am by rower40 » Logged
grahame
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« Reply #6 on: May 20, 2021, 12:36:36 pm »

Understood - I was just tickled by the image of a crane lifting itself up onto a lorry!  ....

One of the big differences between a life form and most inanimate objects is the "generational" capability - the ability of a life form to go through all the various stages in dealing with itself such that a cycle is generated ... I'm probably overthinking this ... and getting mixed up between feathered cranes and steel cranes.

It doesn't feel so long ago that there was a whole line-up of (rail)cranes in the sidings just to the east of Swindon station on the south side.   Whatever happened ... and is the loss of these cranes anything to do with how much incredibly longer it takes to get a line open after a derailment these days?
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paul7575
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« Reply #7 on: May 20, 2021, 08:32:43 pm »

I guess the traditional breakdown cranes were needed in vast numbers back when every significant station had a goods yard, and goods wagons were off the rails in their hundreds if not thousands every year.  How common are derailments today?

But as such problems became less and less, and skills certification became more and more normal, loss of local regular practice would mean centralisation would presumably follow.  Re-railing techniques using hydraulic jacks delivered by a few men in a van became used more and more.  Done by on call expert teams.

Did OHLE become a consideration nationally?

Then I suspect it was noticed that for the few major accidents, where stock ended up well away from the tracks, specialist mobile road cranes had been developed with lifting capability well beyond the railway cranes.

That’s a bit off the cuff, so discussion welcomed…

Paul
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