A telehandler working on a project for Network Rail, in the UK, overturned into a canal last week, when the bank gave way.
The telehandler, a five metre/3,500kg JCB 535 from the Ardent fleet was apparently lifting material to be used on the project to shore up the nearby railway embankment. Reaching the line at this point is quite difficult, but a bridge – Stanton’s Bridge – carries a track from the main A419 London road south of Stroud in Gloucestershire.
We understand that the telehandler was lifting a section of a temporary bridge/pontoon that has been installed to cross the canal, rather than using the small bridge. As the machine took the load the bank collapsed causing it to overturn into the water. The operator was able to jump clear and was uninjured. It was fortunate that the telehandler was not facing in the opposite direction.
There has been some diesel and oil spill into the water, but measures have been taken to contain and recover it. A week on and the telehandler is still in the water.
We have asked Network Rail if it wished to comment. There is also the main contractor and a sub-contractor involved. We have their names but have yet to categorically confirm their involvement – or not. Network Rail has now responded, a spokesperson said: “On Tuesday 25 April, a telehandler operated by one of our contractors became unstable in muddy conditions and subsequently slipped into the canal in Stroud. Fortunately, no one was hurt during this incident. Specialist teams worked to remove the telehandler from the water and safeguard the environment.” We have also had confirmation now that the principal contractor is Sisk, and the subtractor is Ballycommon.
This looks like a classic case of operator error or perhaps more likely poor planning. Ww will update if and when we learn more.