Case Study: Stannah delivers modern, step-free access at Macclesfield station

Rail passengers transiting through Macclesfield Station will be enjoying modern and reliable step-free access for many years to come after Stannah carried out a major overhaul of the station’s lifts. The £400,000 investment was part of the Great North Rail Project, designed to deliver a multi-billion-pound package of improvements for Network Rail customers across the north of England.

Image Credit: Network Rail

The challenge

Macclesfield railway station is a main line station serving the Cheshire town of Macclesfield. It lies on the Stafford to Manchester branch of the West Coast Main Line in the United Kingdom. The bustling station managed by Avanti West Coast needed to safeguard accessibility to and from its platforms by improving safety and preventing unexpected breakdowns in the future through lift modernisation.

However, the project presented a significant engineering challenge: how to safely carry out these major renovation works without entirely closing the station, and furthermore ensuring minimum disruption was caused to passengers.

In addition, the work had to comply with strict government Covid-19 compliance regulations, and operate in compliance with health and safety rules next to an open railway and across a logistically spread out site. The Stannah team had to place their cabin and materials store in the upper car park level, and manoeuvre multiple times per day between this area and the lifts down at platform level, as well as keep all these work areas clean and tidy.

For any lift refurbishment, a detailed analysis of the engineering work needed is carried out. The team must first remove the existing lift components, and carry out maintenance and upgrades to the lift shaft and cables within the shaft. The new lift equipment is then installed and the computerised control system is programmed before the work is finally complete.

The client

Stannah carried out the work on behalf of the contractor, Network Rail, for train operating company Avanti West Coast, which began operating the West Coast Partnership franchise on 8 December 2019. The franchise covers long-distance passenger services on the West Coast Main Line between London, the West Midlands, North West England, North Wales and Scotland.

“The team has been fantastic throughout, communicated to us at all times and answered any questions that we had, keeping us updated throughout the various stages of the project. All work areas that they occupied, including the area that they used to store materials and to house their cabin has been left extremely tidy.”

Andrew Stokes-Owen,  Avanti West Coast

Lift specifications

The old lifts were refurbished with two traction lift mechanisms, delivering a smooth, energy-efficient ride for passengers. The lifts feature new ILE lift cars, Sassi gearless motors with TVC control systems and digital indicators. Each lift boasts a capacity of 21 persons.


Image Credit: Network Rail

The result

The decision was taken that both lifts would be improved at the same time and would be placed completely out of use for passengers. Stannah agreed to a very tight timeline: the replacement of the lift cars and mechanical equipment over a period of just 10 weeks from 20 January to 31 March 2021. While the work was underway, station staff and train operators alike were on standby to assist passengers making essential journeys who needed step-free access to or from platforms 2 and 3.

Despite the short-term disruption, the work was carried out on time, on budget and without delay, ensuring that the new lifts could be officially opened on schedule. When measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19 were eased, Macclesfield was once again in excellent condition, offering reliable step-free access and an easier travel experience thanks to Stannah’s 150-year lift manufacturing pedigree and the Stannah Promise.