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60 years of development

Manchester based spider platform specialists Higher Access received a surprise visit today in the form of one of the UK’s oldest vehicle mounted platforms. The curators of the Greater Manchester Museum of Transport visited the company’s Manchester depot with a vintage Tower Wagon, the all timber tower lift entered service in 1949 on a Leyland Titan PD2/4 chassis powered by a Leyland 9.8ltr engine.
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A 1949 tower wagon on a Leyland Titan PD2/4 chassis

The vehicle mounted tower was a regular sight in and around Manchester and was operated by Bolton Corporation Transport, until it was finally taken out of service in 1976.

The vehicle has a maximum speed of 35mph and the lift mechanism is operated by manually turning a handle to elevate the platform, it is thought the vehicles sole job was to inspect and maintain overhead trolley cables and street lighting.

The team pulled alongside one of Higher Access’s Teupen Leo 26T spider lifts for comparison of 60 years powered access development.
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60 years of progress - tower wagon to spider lift

Paul Hyde sales manager for Higher Access said: “ It was fantastic for the museum to bring their platform out to show us, we have a long relationship with the curators whom were visiting us to undertake training on one of our CS135 spider platforms, the truck certainly turned a few heads when it arrived at the depot, it’s really great to see these kind of vehicles being used and not just as exhibits”

Anybody wishing to see the Tower Wagon can do so at

Greater Manchester Transport Society
Museum of Transport
Boyle Street
Cheetham Hill
M8 8UW