Project Overview: Inspection & Access 50m Below Ground

CAN Ltd is a specialist provider of ground engineering, structural installation and maintenance services, across the UK construction and civil engineering sectors. At Risehill Tunnel on the Settle to Carlisle railway, CAN’s technicians needed to access two, 50m-deep ventilation shafts, where calcite build-up had blocked the drainage systems that were first built in 1870.

However, the tight, cramped location presented a number of challenges, as it was not possible to construct work platforms from which the team could carry out the necessary repairs. As a result, technicians required a means of manoeuvring themselves and their equipment throughout the tunnel shafts and of returning to the surface.

The Solution: Personnel and Equipment Lifting

Altitec is the leading distributor and service partner for the ActSafe Ascender, a self-powered ‘personal elevator’ and equipment lifter that enables maintenance teams to move tools and technicians up and down rope access systems safely and at speed. ActSafe systems have been deployed for a number of years in a variety of sectors, from aviation to renewable energy and construction, providing operations and maintenance teams with the fastest, most cost-effective and reliable means of reaching hard-to-access locations.

Altitec equipped CAN’s technicians with the ACC II ActSafe Ascender, a battery-powered model with optional remote control, on a hire basis. CAN’s team used the units not only to gain access to the shafts, but to carry loads of up to 60kg to the top. After 10 weeks of use, CAN chose to retain the units by purchasing them outright from Altitec, and currently owns ten of the ACC II Ascenders.

Outcomes & Benefits

The ActSafe Ascenders enabled the team to move tools, debris from the old drainage system, and parts for the new drainage system up and down from the work location. In addition, the ACC II system was used as a personal elevator by the team working in the shaft, allowing them to quickly and more easily reach the bottom before or return to the surface.