Vertical Access Ltd, a specialist contractor offering geotechnical engineering in difficult to reach areas, has deployed two TEI Masts purchased through Skelair International on a range of rail projects in the last 12 months – from emergency flood repairs and landslips to cutting stabilisation.

The company, which uses a combination of rope access, cradle systems and hydraulic platforms in their slope stabilisation and rockfall protection works, had previously hired two TEI masts from Skelair, one of the UK’s leading suppliers of ground engineering and rock drilling equipment. The Vertical Access team liked what they saw, and then opted to add two masts to their fleet of specialist rock drilling equipment and rigs – a TEI 560 and a 260.

Andy Shortt of Vertical Access Ltd explains: “We wanted to add the TEIs to our fleet as sometimes they are needed at short notice, and when you are relying on rental you can’t always get them to meet demand.

“All of our work is in hard-to-reach places and we specialise in restricted access and working at heights. We often get emergency calls on the railway, therefore we had to be sure we had the equipment ready to meet demand,” he continued.

In June 2016, flash floods hit parts of Greater Manchester and Cheshire and a landslide affected the train line between Stockport and Disley. Vertical Access was called in by Murphys / Network Rail for emergency works after up to 6,000 tonnes of material was washed away during flash flooding in the Disley, Poynton and Hazel Grove areas. Several sections of the cutting slope had to be repaired with a quick-as-possible turn-around.

Vertical Access worked around the clock in 12-hour shifts, using the TEI 260 to install 48 soil nails, each up to four metres deep and up to 76mm in diameter. The emergency works were a high priority, and were completed within a week, so that the train line could be reopened.

“The TEI 260 worked well in these circumstances, thanks to its speed and efficiency,” said Chris Neighbour of Skelair.

“Purchasing the rigs was definitely the best option for Vertical Access, as the nature of their work means that schedules are often unpredictable. Having the TEIs on stand-by means they are always prepared in an emergency,” he continued.