Trailer for London transformer transport

During the upgrade of London’s Leicester Square substation, UK Power Networks used a megalift self loading trailer.

The use of the trailer reduced each new transformer’s delivery time by four weeks. (Photo: UK Power Networks)

Engineers from UK Power Networks worked with Alliance partner Clancy to finish the two-year upgrade this month ahead of schedule and budget.

The project replaced three 60 megawatt, 132,000 volt transformers, each weighing 100 tonnes, which were originally installed under Leicester Square in 1991.

Ros Morgan, chief executive of the Heart of London Business Alliance, said, “UK Power Networks has been working hand in hand with HOLBA to plan the works around business needs from the outset. With the aim of minimising the impact as much as possible for our members, UK Power Networks took advantage of lockdown, advancing the works as much as possible during this period and reducing the work schedule from three to two years. This infrastructure investment is critical to building a brighter future for this great city.”

Pandemic protection

Jason Gunning, project manager at UK Power Networks, said, “Capital projects don’t get much more sensitive than this; replacing three transformers underneath the heart of London’s theatreland needed to not impact theatre goers, numerous businesses, architecture, and some very precious trees. To add to this, a pandemic made our protecting workers in confined spaces difficult.

“Extraordinary planning, care, ingenuity, an innovative and seamless approach to on-site work and community collaboration was the recipe for success and we are sharing this so colleagues and the industry can adopt similar methods.

“This project was successfully achieved in two years not three, giving Leicester Square increased resilience and energy capacity for decades to come, and serving one of the UK’s most heavily populated and congested areas.”

More than 250,000 people visit Leicester Square daily and the company worked with the Heart of London Business Alliance (HOLBA), the Society of London Theatre (SOLT), and Westminster City Council to help ensure business and tourism could continue and flourish.

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