Quattro On Track: The Elizabeth Line



For the past few months, commuters in London and the Southeast have been celebrating the addition of the Elizabeth Line to their travel plans. The advanced new railway stretches over 60 miles (100km) from the west, Reading and Heathrow, right through central London via Paddington and Tottenham Court Road, to the east via Canary Wharf and Stratford, ending in a fork of Essex and Kent’s Shenfield and Abbey Wood.

Stopping at 41 stations, the new line is expected to be used by up to 200 million people, shortening some journey times by up to 50%. The spacious train is smoother, more convenient and a more pleasant travel experience running through stations that have been newly refurbished in purple, graphite and steel colours. In addition, there are ten new stops with extended platforms which have been excavated under the existing tube network.

For the past eight years, Paul Neethling, Quattro Area Manager for London and the Southeast, led a dedicated team to oversee involvement in this extensive railway project. The coordination involved up to 40 Quattro machines and over 70 operators being supplied to ATCJV to assist in the tunnels at any given time. Neethling was present throughout the entire Elizabeth line project. Hailing from South Africa, he has worked at Quattro for seventeen years and is based at the Stratford office.

We supplied many RRVs including trailers and MEWPs to ATCJV. Once they had installed the track we were helping with the fit outs. Our team travelled down into the tunnels unloading equipment. At any one point up to 30 Quattro Neotec 400R/R MEWPs (Mobile Operated Work Platforms) were in the tunnels helping to install cables and carry out any service ATC JV required. Quattro assisted with water pipes, the installation of a mammoth amount of signalling and helped to put in walkways as a support service to do the fit out. Our team was working day and night to get the job done and get this impressive new line finished.

Working across the Elizabeth Line, Quattro machines travelled extensively from Plumstead under the city up to Westbourne Park.

It was an intense job once we got going. It was extremely safety conscious, with lots of testing before getting it right, noted Neethling.

The eponymous Elizabeth Line was formally opened by the late Queen Elizabeth II on 17th May 2022 and commenced service at on May 24th, 2022. It is said to be the most significant improvement in travel for fifty years, with commuters hailing it as ‘nothing like the cramped conditions of the tube’ and ‘complete luxury with a wow factor.’ When fully open it will add 10% to London’s rail network and estimated £42bn to the UK economy. [Source: TFL].

Asked if he had taken a trip on the new Line, Neethling answered with a smile:
‘I have! I had to give it a go and see what we contributed to. I got on at Stratford and went as far as Ealing Broadway. It’s much more modern and doesn’t feel like you’re on a tube. It’s not quite a spaceship but it’s very slick and smooth.’

Quattro MD, John Murphy concluded: ‘It has been a considerable undertaking and hard hats off to the full team involved. Quattro is proud to have played a part in the installation and service of the revolutionary Elizabeth Line. It’s a line fit for royalty!’

The Elizabeth Line is expected to be fully operational by May 2023, with Bond Street station currently on track to open in Autumn 2022. [Source: TFL]


A Timeline: Quattro has worked on The Elizabeth Line for the past eight years

  • Late 2014 – Quattro starts work with a few construction machines at Plumstead and Connaught West which remained there for most of 2015
  • Early 2015 first rail machines and laser dozers were delivered to Plumstead, helping to install rail head and sidings. This continued well into latter part of 2015
  • Mid 2015 more RRV’s accessed via Connaught West Portal predominantly dragging and positioning Rail and delivering materials.
  • November 2015 the first 3 of the Neotec 160 RRV MEWPs started to access the tunnel from Plumstead on day shifts.
  • By January 2016, Komatsu PW160 RRV’s were being used from Westbourne Park portal, also dragging and positioning Rail and delivering materials.
  • Tracked Komatsu PC138’s / Tracked Kobelco SK135’s and Tracked JCB JZ140’s became essential with limited space available to off load equipment from rail trailers.
  • August 2016 - The Neotec 160 R/R MEWPS were now starting to be stabled in the tunnel after a dayshift and night shifts were laid on to increase productivity between the disciplines, from OHLE, M&E, P-Way and various contractors brought in to deliver specific parts of the project. We saw the need to imbed a permanent plant supervisor (Artur Ulqini) on the project soon after to deal with the day-to-day aspects of co-ordinating the significantly increasing numbers of machines and operators on the job.
  • January 2017 Quattro introduced the Neotec 400R/R MEWP into the project allowing a more versatile working arrangement with the increased 400kg basket capacity. By July 2017 Quattro had from 10-12 RRV’s and at its peak 30 RRV MEWPS working full time on the project with a good percentage of the machines doing both day and night shifts. Quattro’s unique RRV Suction Excavation Lorry (Dumbo) was brought in to work on the project from July 2017 and also saw a long stint in the tunnels, cleaning anything deemed necessary. A specially adapted towable trolley was used to clear debris and dirt left over by the construction crews from the tunnel floor and around the rail fastenings.
  • The RRV’s and MEWPs continued in much the same capacity for the following months until the end of 2018. Operators and associated staff members were accessing at all newly created access and egress points from Plumstead, Stepney Green, Connaught West, Whitechapel, Bond Street, Farringdon, Royal Oak and Westbourne Park until early 2019 at which point dynamic testing had begun on the newly installed network.
  • By the autumn of 2019 the Quattro team were working around the clock in certain sections.  By the autumn of 2020, ad hoc machines were being ordered for specific construction windows.

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