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Custom scissor lifts used for Channel Tunnel maintenance

by Liam Turner
computerised representation of Palfinger's scissor lift being put to use in the channel tunnel

Eurotunnel and its contractors are using custom-made scissor-lift platforms for planned maintenance work inside the Channel Tunnel.

Austrian crane manufacturer Palfinger is supplying 16 PA1500 scissor lift platforms for the routine maintenance work, which will be undertaken with British rail plant specialist GOS Tool Engineering Services.

The elevating work platforms have been designed to minimise the risk of damage to the new high-voltage direct current power cable, which is being installed in the Channel Tunnel to transfer electricity between Britain and France.

A risk assessment carried out by Eurotunnel found that the power line was most likely to be damaged by a crane or an access platform during routine maintenance work.

It has been agreed that it is the responsibility of GOS and Palfinger Railway to combat this risk.


The PA1500 scissor lifts were developed as a custom-made small series and feature horizontal and vertical movement limiting devices that meet PLd (Performance Level d) in line with the EN 13849 safety-related standard.

The modular platform has a safe-working load of 1.5 tonnes and can work at an inclination of 10° when fully laden.

The basket is six metres long, with an adjustable width of between 2.9 to 4.5 metres, providing a maximum working space of around 30 sq. m.

By engaging synchronous operation mode, every movement of two-scissor lift platforms mounted one behind the other can be controlled simultaneously using a remote control.

Palfinger’s Eurotunnel order also includes two PKR 800 railway cranes, six PR 220 cranes with BB 29 and BB 49 baskets, two PA 200 platforms, and more.

Carl Jones, director of Rail Engineering at GOS, said the scissor lifts were “so impressive”.

Image: Palfinger

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