Supergrid transformers on the move with Collett Transport

Commercial Motor
April 19, 2024


Heavy transport specialist, Collett Transport has delivered two 178Te supergrid transformers from Tilbury Dock in Essex to National Grid’s Biggleswade substation in Bedfordshire. The 76-mile route which took around eight hours to complete was part of a contract with Hyundai Electric UK. 


The transformers were 9m long, 5.4m wide and 5m tall. The trucks and trailers totalled 66m long with Collett’s 250Te capacity Goldhofer girder bridge trailer. To minimise the impact on local traffic, the transformers were moved on two consecutive Sundays. 


Before travelling the route, Collett’s team conducted a route survey to ensure any potential obstructions from street furniture were temporarily removed to allow clear passage. This involved working with the Cambridgeshire County Council and Central Bedfordshire Council. 


Alongside the firm’s own escort vehicles, the abnormal load was accompanied by police escorts. Essex police did the stretch from Tilbury Dock until the border where Cambridgeshire Police took over. 


Beyond transporting the transformers, Collett was responsible for ship chartering operations, loading and unloading the units. At the dock the first transformer was safely moved to storage whilst the second was loaded up to be delivered. On arrival, Collett’s heavy lift team moved the transformers into place. Prior to this, planning involved ground bearing pressure calculations, method statements, risk assessments and installation drawings to ensure everything went smoothly. The team used heavy duty jacking and skidding equipment to skid the transformers into the correct positions. 


The process was repeated successfully with the second transformer a week later. The two units form part of a 400kV substation which will be used to support power for the surrounding area. Capacity will increase by 80mW once the site is completed. However, it’s being built with the future in mind with the ability to support additional residential and business developments around Biggleswade over the coming years. 

Hundreds of companies will be exhibiting at Road Transport Expo which takes place from 4-6 June at NAEC Stoneleigh in Warwickshire. It is completely free to attend for visitors, so why not book your place today?!

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Commercial Motor is the online presence for Commercial Motor magazine, the world’s oldest magazine dedicated to the commercial vehicle industry.

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