Crossrail systemwide contractor ATC reaches for new heights with the help of Bilco UK
January 2021

With the new Elizabeth line set to deliver a 10% increase in rail capacity across central London, the project will provide a high frequency service that reduces journey times and creates new travel opportunities by linking 41 stations across 100 kilometres.

As part of the landmark construction project, over 42 kilometres of new tunnels, 50 kilometres of new track and 10 new stations are being developed in conjunction with major upgrades to the existing infrastructure.

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.

Once fully open, the Elizabeth line will provide an additional 1.5 million people with access to central London within 45 minutes, covering Reading and Heathrow in the West, right through to Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the East.

The specification process, managed by Construction & Rail 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.

The installation process, which has been managed by ATC Systemwide, will provide secure access throughout all essential areas of the central section, including at either end of every station and at additional strategic locations.

Vimesshen Ravindran, Senior Mechanical Engineer at ATC Systemwide, said: “The lightweight construction of the Ladder Up® Safety Posts ensured the installation process was quick and easy, resulting in no unforeseen issues on site. When the system retracts, the high quality spring-balance and convenient lever release provides a controlled means of lowering into its retracted position. This delivers enhanced ease of operation, ensuring long term suitability and usability for the engineers when undertaking future maintenance tasks.

“The Ladder Up® Safety Posts will play an essential role in ensuring the central section of the Elizabeth line continues to run at the highest standard, so it was crucial we specified access solutions that would facilitate the continued maintenance of the line, safely and efficiently.”

The telescopic tubular section automatically locks when fully extended, while the adjustable mounting hardware accommodates any ladder rung size or spacing. The corrosion resistant construction can also withstand the demanding environment of the London underground system, ensuring its successful operation for years to come.

Darren Waters, Managing Director of Bilco UK, said: “We are extremely proud to have been involved in the UK’s high profile Crossrail infrastructure project and have worked closely with McNealy Brown and ATC Systemwide throughout every stage of the specification and installation stages.

“This has ensured our unique Ladder Up® Safety Posts have fulfilled each individual requirement of the central section of the Elizabeth line, from security and ease of usability, right through to long term durability. We look forward to seeing the completion of the Crossrail project as our innovative access solutions play a vital role in ensuring its safe and successful operation.”

Aiming to make travelling throughout the capital easier, quicker and less crowded for passengers, the Elizabeth line will not only reduce the strain on London’s transport network but transform the way passengers experience and interact with the city and its suburbs.

For further information on Bilco UK’s complete range of roof access solutions, visit www.bilcouk.co.uk or call 01284 701696.