Building bridges with Thömen

Thömen's new 800 tonne capacity Liebherr LR 1800-1.0 crawler crane at work in Berlin Thömen’s new 800 tonne capacity Liebherr LR 1800-1.0 crawler crane at work in Berlin next to a live rail line. Photo: Liebherr

As is often the case with rail-related jobs space restrictions presented a challenge for Thömen Schwertransport und Krantechnik on a bridge replacement project in Germany.

Installing the two big new rail bridges over a road required a big crane. Thömen chose its 800 tonne capacity Liebherr LR 1800-1.0 lattice boom crawler crane which was on its first outing to Berlin.

Jens Hoffmeister, operations manager at Thömen Jens Hoffmeister, operations manager at Thömen. Photo: Liebherr

The new bridges carry the S-Bahn urban railway tracks over Niemetzstraße which was closed to road traffic. The work was part of Deutsche Bahn’s rail network expansion investment in Berlin and Brandenburg. Commenting on the project’s challenges Jens Hoffmeister, Thömen operations manager, said, “The available space for the crane was limited to the width of the road and was therefore very cramped. There were no storage facilities for the crane parts. The assembly was carried out directly from the lorry to the crane, which required seamless logistical planning.”

Set up for the lifts

The new LR 1800-1.0 was erected for the bridge lifts with 42 metres of main boom, 230 tonnes of slewing platform ballast and 90 tonnes of central ballast. Set up was made easier using the radio remote control. “The BTT-E wireless remote control is really very good. You can work excellently with it and control the crane while maintaining visual contact with the set-up process. Liebherr has developed a very good solution here,” said Mike Roscher, one of the crane operators on this job.

The first bridge, weighing 125 tonnes was lifted into place right next to another train line at a maximum radius of 25 metres. It was completed overnight during a closure of the line. For the neighbouring track the second bridge was installed, closer to the crane and further away from the other train line which remained live. It was a 160 tonne lift at a radius of 21 metres.

Thömen Schwertransport und Krantechnik is part of the Hüffermann Group which employs more than 800 people. The other crane service providers in the group are Hüffermann Krandienst, Knaack-Krane in the North, plus Autodienst West and the Eisele AG – Crane & Engineering Group in Maintal and Frankfurt. The equipment fleet includes more than 1,200 cranes. There is also a forwarding agency for heavy loads and specialized transport, plus assembly and project engineering divisions.

Liebherr LR 1800-1.9 lattice boom crawler crane owned by Thömen Lifting in the first bridge next to another rail track during a night time line closure. Weight was 125 tonnes. Photo: Liebherr


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