Transport New South Wales and the Sydney Harbour Bridge rail repair


Two way red crane parked

Approximately 450 train services use the Sydney Harbour Bridge rail infrastructure every day. Typically running on a 19.5 hour a day schedule, a passenger train moves across the bridge’s rail network every two and half minutes. That’s a lot of traffic and a lot of weight on a bridge that is 90 years old.

Eventually, repairs and maintenance need to be addressed and any works that disrupt public movement need to be meticulously planned for speed and safety. Such was the case for the Sydney Harbour bridge rail repair project.

When transport New South Wales was looking for a team of professional crane operators that had the know-how, the specialist crane fleet and the commitment to get the job done within very tight timelines, they turned to Two-Way Cranes.

This was a very unique project and one that only comes along once or twice in the lifecycle of any project manager. When Two Way Cranes first looked at the project, we saw this as a real opportunity to showcase our team two-way motto for success,” says Dave Brown, Project Manager at Two Way Cranes.

rail line needed to be removed and replaced

The brief


The original timber compaction beds supporting the rail line needed to be removed and replaced with pre-cast concrete panels. Each panel weighed between 5.5 and 6 tonnes and needed to be laid in a predetermined sequence, fitting together like a giant jigsaw puzzle.

Sounds simple enough – however, with the original support footing removed, the crane was driven onto timber panels and manoeuvred across a curved structure within a very restricted space with variable level calculations at each drop point.

Each lift and move required a highly skilled manoeuvre and painstaking precision to ensure safety and accuracy.

As each panel was laid, the next was lifted and moved into position, almost like building a conveyer belt made from large concrete panels.

The presentation


The success of the project came down to several factors: first and foremost was the incredible work done by Two Way Cranes’ technical draftsman, Jeff Hogan, who presented a very detailed lift planning document. Jeff’s lift plan included:

Sketch presentation
  • Product guide (crane information)
  • Outrigger loads and dimensions
  • Crane technical data
  • Counterweight required for the task
  • Jib configurations
  • Jib length and radius confirmation
  • Rigging equipment used for the task
  • Technical data, sometimes on multiple pages due to information required
  • Set up positions
  • Work positions
  • Elevation drawings confirming working heights.

The Two Way Cranes team looked closely at safety, manoeuvrability and speed. To tick these boxes, Two Way Cranes identified the Liebherr LTM1060 as the crane with the superior technology to successfully fulfil the brief. The Liebherr LTM 1060 is a remarkable piece of crane engineering. The crane is fitted with Vario Base Outrigger technology. This enables each individual outrigger to be extended to different lengths, stabilising the crane for consistent load bearing on variable terrain. Additionally, this technology enables the crane to operate within difficult environments such as the tight working space of the Sydney Harbour Bridge rail line.

It was a very complex and technical design. Jeff had no up-to-date drawing of the bridge to work from and needed to design the lift plan working from scratch. Each element was sketched out and included all the engineering considerations and crane calculations for each move,” says Dave.

Plan the work then work the plan


Outstanding planning is the key to all Two Way Cranes projects and this project involved six months of intensive planning. The works were scheduled across a 19 day, 24-hour working model that required three x 8-hour rotating shifts. Further, the project timing included Christmas Day and Boxing Day.

Our team is experienced working in high-intensity deadline orientated environments. With a full buy-in to ‘Team Two-Way’, our operators were acutely aware of the reputational value of performing under pressure and making the necessary sacrifices to ensure the project’s timelines could be executed successfully.

It was the flawless project presentation and lift plan, combined with the commitment of our team that won the contract for this monumental project. It is projects like this one that set us apart from our competitors. We cover every detail and plan all aspects of the job down to the finest deliverable. Our experience, capability and fleet ensure two way cranes are at the pointy end when it comes to complex jobs,” concludes Dave.

Find out more about Two Way Cranes


Two Way Cranes offers outstanding service and with over 20 years’ industry experience, a qualified and certified team and an immense fleet, we’re experts in adaptable mobile crane and speciality lifting solutions.

Contact us today and experience the Two Way Cranes difference.

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