Lugging a sub

25 April 2008

The Enrico Toti arriving at its new home in Milan

The Enrico Toti arriving at its new home in Milan

Moving the Enrico Toti submarine from a port on the Cremona River to a museum in Milan, Italy was an adventure in itself. Last summer, Fagioli PSC accepted the challenge to haul the Cold War era submarine from the port to the Museum of Science and Technology in Milan, where it is now on display as a permanent exhibit. The 11 day adventure was fraught with details, starting with the task of lifting the submarine out of the water and onto trailers for the trip to Milan.

Fagioli used a 400 tonne capacity gantry crane and a 400 tonne Liebherr LTM 1400 telescopic wheeled mobile crane in tandem to hoist the craft, which weighed close to 400 tonnes and was about 60 m long, 3 m wide and 7 m high. Secured on Fagioli's 15 axle Cometto modular trailers, the submarine and its convoy painstakingly made the 92 km trip mainly at night, all the way escorted by the Army and related support vehicles, in addition to a throng of curious people who stayed up late to watch the historic vessel pass through their towns and villages and eventually through the narrow, sometimes steep and often curvaceous, streets of Milan. The story of the move of the Enrico Toti was covered worldwide by media ranging from local papers to the New York Times, and from Italian broadcasting to CNN. On the last night of its journey some 200,000 people followed the submarine into the Milan Centre.

Built during the height of the Cold War in 1967, the submarine's mission was to track Russian nuclear submarines. It was not until the late 1990s that the vessel was disarmed and retired. After years of discussion and overcoming a host of bureaucratic difficulties, it was decided Toti would become a permanent exhibit at the Leonardo da Vinci Science and Technology Museum in Milan Centre.

Fagioli's team of engineers planned the trip with care, aware of each obstacle they would face along the route. A daily routine for the engineers was to disconnect and reconnect power lines and remove and re-install lamp posts and road signs. Narrow streets were often hazardous, as were the seven 90 degree turns that had to be negotiated. Approximately 20 lamp posts and 12 traffic lights required removal and re-installation.

“The numerous obstacles and difficulties to transport a 450 ton [400 tonne] submarine into the heart of a big city had been studied several times thanks to pre-survey, collaboration with local authorities, engineering studies with computer aided design and the result was a perfect job without any trouble,” says Rudy Corbetta, Fagioli marketing officer.

Employed on the project werefour engineers for 30 days plus 11 people for 15 days 24/7 for a total of 2,610 hours. •

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