UK’s first fully electric crawler cranes start work on HS2



HS2’s move towards diesel free construction sites took a step forward this month with three fully electric crawler cranes arriving at HS2 sites in London.

This follows the UK’s first trial of an electric crawler crane at HS2’s Curzon Street Station site in Birmingham last year. There are only five of these 100% emissions-free, giant Liebherr cranes in the world and three are being used for the first time in the UK at HS2’s Old Oak Common site and Canterbury Road vent shaft site. They will cut carbon, improve air quality and reduce noise, making sites cleaner and safer for site workers and local communities.

HS2 recently announced that the project aims to be net zero carbon from 2035, with the target of achieving diesel-free construction sites by 2029. To achieve this, HS2 is collaborating with the industry and its supply chain to accelerate innovation in low carbon technologies, such as fully electric machinery, alternative fuels and renewable energy solutions.

The Liebherr LR1250E, a 250-tonne lattice jib crawler crane, and the Liebherr 160 tonne LR1160E both operate emission-free and will be used to construct the 850m long Old Oak Common Station box which will house six high-speed rail platforms.

Environmental manager at Balfour Beatty VINCI SYSTRA, Mohamed El Shazly said: “As we work to deliver HS2’s Old Oak Common Station, we are continually seeking new ways to minimise our environmental impact and drive down our carbon emissions. With only five of these fully electric cranes in the world, we are pleased that two are now operational on our site; testament to the commitment we have made alongside HS2 and our partners to support the UK’s transition to Net Zero.”

The third crane – a 160 tonne Liebherr LR1160E, has arrived at HS2’s Canterbury Road vent shaft site managed by Skanska Costain STRABAG joint venture (SCS JV).

Robert Lockwood, SCS air quality lead said: “At SCS we want to make the transition to electric plant wherever possible in order to reduce emissions and noise, which is crucial for both the environment and the communities around our sites. To keep the momentum going, we’re already looking to procure our second electric crawler crane for delivery in March 2022. Having the UK’s first fully electric crawler cranes begin work on HS2 is the latest step in making these commitments a reality and aligning the country’s biggest infrastructure project with the Government’s ambitions for a greener transport.”