Custom-built gantry cranes are being used to handle and transport concrete precast elements for the first elevated rail line in Perth, Australia, as part of the Victoria Park-Canning Level Crossing Removal Project.

Manufactured in Italy by Cimolai Technology – which specialises in the design and fabrication of advanced and complex equipment for special projects, as well as standard units for common applications – these mobile straddle transporters have been designed to fit the exact specifications of the Armadale Line. Each crane can lift 120t, with two required to operate at once for the project’s maximum lift of 140t.

Six gantry cranes will be used on the project and two are currently lifting and storing L-beams at the laydown storage site in Hazelmere. A total of 530 L-beams will be installed to build the overhead rail line. Each beam is made up of approximately eight truckloads of concrete and 13t of steel. The beams are 2.2m high, 30m long and weigh 130t.

By using gantry cranes, the footprint of works is said to be “significantly reduced as this type of crane will operate within the rail corridor, which allows more trees and vegetation to be retained”.

The Victoria Park-Canning Level Crossing Removal Project is the city of Perth’s first major elevated rail designed to improve public transport safety, create new and versatile public space for the community, and reduce the levels of traffic congestion.

Level crossings will be removed along the Armadale Line by raising the rail over the road at locations such as Mint Street, Oats Street, Welshpool Road, Hamilton Street, Wharf Street and William Street. New modern elevated stations will be built at locations such as Carlisle, Oats Street, Queens Park, Cannington and Beckenham stations.

Preparations for the 18-month Armadale Line Shutdown in late-2023 are ramping up and will see the addition of 5.5km of elevated rail.

The elevated rail will be between 5m and 7m high from ground level with the piers (columns) and superstructures (where the train sits) combined into a single structure to minimise its width and depth.

Stakeholder and community consultation shaped the early design work after elevated rail was announced as the level crossing removal solution in mid-2020.

Speaking at the back end of last year, the now former premier of Western Australia, Mark McGowan, said the project would be transformational for people living and working along the Armadale Line.

“Already we are seeing real benefits for our state, with local industry playing a key role in manufacturing components of the overhead rail structure – with thousands more local jobs to be created across the life of the project,” he said.