Bob Francis Crane Hire & Heavy Haulage has supplied equipment for the new cafeteria at the top of mount Snowdon. A new café has been built following some unsavory comments by Prince Charles a couple of years ago. At a height of 3560 ft (1085 metres), Snowdon is the highest point in England and Wales and the steep terrain makes any construction difficult.
All plant, materials and workers had to use the Snowdon Mountain Railway – Britain’s only rack railway – which can cope with gradients of 1 in 5.5. Initially Bob Francis supplied a 5 tonne capacity IHI mini crawler telescopic crane which helped complete the foundation works. Unfortunately, this was too small to install the sheeting and roof cladding and alternative lifting equipment was needed.
After much thought a PM 45SP lorry loader mounted onto a steel skid unit with 25 tonnes of ballast was used. The loader can lift 500kg at 21 metres, more than enough to install the cladding and concrete beams.
The loader crane was transported to the site on the narrow gauge railway on a specially built flat-bed trailer. The maximum load was 10 tonnes so the unit had to be stripped down and rebuilt at the summit.
One of the main problems was the cold particularly with the wind chill factor. “Over the last few weeks the temperature which was down to minus five without the wind chill factor meant that the power pack took about an hour to bring it up to temperature,” said Mark Francis. “This is one of the most unusual contracts that I have been involved with, but our lifting solutions worked well and we were pleased with the performance.”
Bob Francis has its main depot 35 miles from Llanberis railway terminus so staff travelled from home to the station for the one hour ride to the summit each day.
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