Heavy lifting and handling specialist, Mechan, has transformed the centre of a busy London rail depot into a multi-purpose maintenance space.
The Sheffield-based manufacturer has designed a bespoke wheel drop for the East Ham Train Depot, operated by South Essex and London rail operator, c2c Trenitalia, which enables roof components to be removed in the same location when it is not in use.
East Ham is located on c2c’s London, Tilbury and Southend line and is currently seeing numerous upgrades in preparation for the arrival of a new fleet of Alstom Aventra trains.
Working with principal contractor, Spencer Group, a new wheel drop pit was added to East Ham’s Road 10, which is also equipped with high level gantries and a jib crane. Mechan has modified its wheel drop to incorporate hydraulic trapdoors that cover the pit, enabling heating, ventilation and air conditioning units to be placed onto them for removal by forklift.
A wheel drop allows complete wheelsets to be removed or replaced without lifting the rail vehicle, helping to streamline the process. At East Ham, it will be used to change carriage wheelsets on c2c’s new fleet of five-car Class 720 Aventra trains, due in service later this year. Mechan has also ensured the design is compatible with all other fleets maintained at the depot.
Lindsey Mills, Mechan’s sales director, said: “When we received Spencer Group’s specification, we knew East Ham’s unique space constraints would prove challenging for our engineers. However, by working collaboratively with all parties involved, we have designed a bespoke solution to the potential congestion caused by undertaking two maintenance activities in one place and ensured the depot can work efficiently and effectively when the wheel drop is not in use.”
Dan Barrett, c2c’s interim engineering director, added: “This new Mechan wheel drop is an important addition to our depot facilities at East Ham. It will be essential for continued maintenance of our new Aventra units, in addition to being able to support maintenance of our existing Electrostar fleet. The introduction of this equipment will significantly increase our maintenance capability and efficiency.”