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Hitachi earthmoving solution for DSJV

Hitachi ZX470LCH-5 excavator

Joint-venture firm using a rented ZX470LCH-5 excavator for work on Crossrail’s Limmo Peninsula site

A NEW Hitachi ZX470LCH-5 hydraulic excavator has been rented by DSJV (Dragados Sisk Joint Venture) from Flannery Plant Hire to work at Crossrail’s Limmo Peninsula site.

The large Zaxis excavator was delivered directly to a wharf on the river Thames in January 2013 by UK Hitachi Construction Machinery dealers HM Plant, to work 24h a day, seven days a week at the hub of the project’s earthmoving operation.


Crossrail – a wholly owned subsidiary of Transport for London – will deliver a major new suburban rail service for London and the south-east of England. It will provide easier, quicker and more direct travel opportunities across the capital for the first time via new railway lines and tunnels.

DSJV, comprising two leading construction companies, Dragados SA (Spain) and John Sisk & Son (Ireland), will be the main contractors at Limmo Peninsula until all of the tunnelling works have been completed at the end of 2015. The tunnelling work commenced in late 2012 with two of Crossrail’s 1,000-tonne, 150m long tunnel-boring machines (TBMs) engaged on this site.

The giant TBMs remove the London clay and create sealed concrete tunnels. As they advance, the cutterheads excavate the ground and the loosened material is transported out of the tunnel via a conveyor belt which is more than 2km long.

It takes more than 20 minutes for the material to reach the end of the belt, where it is discharged into a large pit. The ZX470LCH-5 extracts the earth from the pit and loads it into either a fleet of trucks or barges (via a mobile hopper).

The mode of transport is dictated by the tides on the river, with only time for four barges to be loaded in each 24h cycle at the wharf. Nearly all of the excavated material will be reused at Wallasea Island, in Essex, to create a new nature reserve in partnership with the RSPB.

‘We can load 1,000 tonnes of materials into a barge in approximately 2.5h, and into an 18-tonne truck in two minutes,’ explained Ed Connor, DSJV’s wharf manager. ‘Our whole operation is dependent on the large Hitachi excavator, which has already proved to be reliable and versatile. We’ve not had any unscheduled downtime to date. It’s a brilliant machine and can do anything on this demanding site, from maintaining the access roads to loading the hopper and trucks.’

Flannery Plant Hire’s operator, Piotr Makowski, has been working with the Zaxis excavator on the day shift since it was delivered. ‘The ZX470LCH-5 has been fantastic,’ he said. ‘It has so much power and has been 100% reliable.

‘This is one of the best excavators that I have ever operated. It’s a strong, smooth, fast and hard-working machine. The cab is comfortable, there’s more than enough leg room and I find the colour monitor to be particularly useful for safety purposes.’


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