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Thackray Crane Rental, Inc. Announces Winner of Walter J. Thackray Scholarship Award

Thackray Crane Rental, Inc. is more than just a crane rental company serving New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and its surrounding areas. Since our company’s inception in 1947, Thackray has remained one of the region’s only continuously owned and operated family businesses, and for that we are proud.

Walter and Anna (nee. Cassalia) Thackray built our company on two fundamental values: integrity and commitment. It is these values, as well as Walter and Anna’s overall vision for the company, that has fueled our success to prioritize customer satisfaction generation after generation.

Because of this, we wanted to honor the man who built our company from the ground up by establishing the Walter J. Thackray Scholarship at The Philadelphia Foundation. It is our company’s intention that through the Walter J. Thackray Scholarship, we will foster his legacy of philanthropy and charitable by awarding this scholarship to one deserving individual.

And the Winner Is…

Thackray Crane Rental, Inc. is pleased to announce that the winner of the Walter J. Thackray Scholarship Award is Evan Cain! A recent high school graduate of Conestoga High School, Class of 2018, Evan has been accepted into the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he will be pursuing a degree in Crop Sciences. This innovative major has been internationally recognized for using the latest advancements in technology to not only improve food production more efficiently, but fuel production as well.

Cain credits his grandmother for fueling his passion in all things agricultural-related. Ultimately, Cain would love to work with a company who shares similar visions, one of which is to one day if not deplete, but ease world hunger.

Thackray wishes Cain only the best in all of his future endeavors and a huge congratulations on being the inaugural recipient of the Walter J. Thackray Scholarship Award.

The Philadelphia Foundation

Due to the organization’s desire and commitment to improving the quality of life in the Greater Philadelphia area, we decided to partner with The Philadelphia Foundation when it came to administering the scholarship award. The Philadelphia Foundation (TPF) strengthens the economic, social and civic vitality of Greater Philadelphia. TPF grows effective philanthropic investment, connects individuals and institutions across sectors and geography, and advances civic initiatives through partnerships and collaboration. A publicly supported foundation, TPF manages more than 900 charitable funds established by its donors and makes over 1,000 grants and scholarship awards each year. To learn more, visit For more information on Thackray Crane Rental, Inc., Philadelphia’s premier crane rental company, please browse our website.

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Zumanjaro Drop of Doom


Project: Six Flags Great Adventure
Location: Jackson, NJ
Equipment: American Conventional Crane

Thackray Crane lifts Zumanjaro Drop of Doom materials and supplies. Built in Jackson NJ, Zumanjaro will lift riders high into the air. The Zumanjaro Drop of Doom is slated to be the tallest “drop” tower in the world.

Project Overview

Working with contractors on an amusement ride like this takes planning, coordination and time. Thackray Crane Rental is delighted to participate in this project.

Thackray Crane Rental provided crane and lift support for helping to build this ride. Throughout each day of construction, skilled operatators used a Thackray Crane to lift men and steel to help build this new ride. With over 400 foot of lattice boom the crane and Thackray crew precisely placed materials exactly where there were needed as this new amusement ride took shape.

According to the onsite Thackray crew, the only thing more exciting then helping to build Zumanjaro will be riding it!

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Airbus A320 Lift

Jetliner Lift

Project: US Air Jetliner Lift
Location: PHL Airport, Philadelphia, PA
Equipment: Liebherr All Terrain Crane

Thackray uses a tandem crane setup to lift a stranded jetliner off the tarmac after the US Airways Jetliner’s nose gear failed on takeoff.

Project Overview

A US Airway Airbus A320 jetliner carrying 149 passengers and 5 crew members aborted its takeoff after it’s nose gear tire blew out. All passengers escaped with no serious injuries.

On a cold day in March 2014, around 6 PM, a fueled US Air jetliner, leaving from Philadelphia International Airport en route to Ft. Lauderdale Florida, momentarily lifted off the runway and then aborted its takeoff, coming to rest on its nose cone.

The pilot apparently made a controlled landing because the front nose cone tire blow out during takeoff. The passengers evacuated and emergency teams from the Philadelphia Fire Department responded. The Philadelphia International Airport instantly went to Alert 1, meaning no takeoffs or landings.

Once things were under control, investigators realized the damaged jetliner could not be rolled back to a hanger. So they called in Thackray Crane Rental. Within minutes, Thackray Crane mobilized a team of skilled crane operators and support personnel. Every crane lift job is unique but this one was far from routine. The crane crews were briefed. Permits were expedited by Thackray’s dispatch team and equipment was staged in Thackray Crane Rental’s Philadelphia yard.

Working together and coordinating with with a special team of rigging partners, Thackray Crane Rental deployed two of their larges cranes to perform a tandem crane lift of the Aircraft, using safe work practices for lifting such a large aircraft. Additional special equipment was brought in and utilized in this delicate, critical crane lift.

Complicating the work was cold weather, and work was to be performed in the dark of night. Access was limited to the tarmac, and news crews standing in the distance outside the airport borders looked on.

The jetliner lift had to be carefully planned and executed. Investigators wanted everything intact so they could figure out exactly what had happened. Thackray Crane worked tirelessly through the night to set up their powerful cranes and use the heavy duty crane equipment to lift the plane so it could be placed on moving equipment and rolled back in the hanger.

Thackray is delighted that there were no serious injuries in this incident. Despite the challenges the entire Thackray Crane family of employees, dispatchers, and owners were available to do whatever was necessary to safety accomplish this critical crane lift.

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USS Somerset LPD-25

Gangway Lift

Project: USS Somerset Gangway Lift
Location: Penn’s Landing, Philadelphia, PA
Equipment: Grove All Terrain Crane

The USS Somerset is named to honor victims of Flight 93, forced down on 9/11 in Shanksville, Somerset County, PA.

Project Overview

The USS Somerset is an amphibious transport docked for commissioning at Penn’s Landing, near the Independence Seaport Museum in Philadelphia, PA.

Thackray Crane was brought in to help welcome the vessel and its crew to Philadelphia by providing the necessary crane lifting services to install the ship’s gangways, sometimes referred to as gangplanks. The gangways provide the bridges and walkways so crew members can easily disembark and board the ship.

In order for Thackray to complete the critical crane lifts required to install several gangways, the Thackray crane and crew had to first clear a security checkpoint.

Thackray’s All Terrain Crane was backed into a narrow location on the Penn’s Landing pier near the Independence Seaport Museum in Philadelphia. A set of protective mats was placed on the ground to prevent damage to the intricate brick work that creates the image of a compass. Additional crane mats were located under each crane outrigger.

Working in unusually heavy fog and intermittent rain, the Thackray Crew members set up the crane and positioned other equipment so that gangways connecting between the pier and the ship could be removed from the ship and set in place.

Within minutes of the completed installation and safety check, USS Somerset members disembarked happily setting foot in historic Philadelphia.

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Sprint Tower

Communications Tower

Project: Sprint Tower Upgrade
Location: Montgomery County, PA
Equipment: Terrex Truck Crane

Project Overview

Sprint and their general telecom contractor entrusted Thackray Crane Rental to assist with upgrading this mission-critical telecommunications tower. Timing was critical because the communications equipment upgrade needed to be accomplished beginning early in the morning on a Saturday.

The approximately 150 foot high tower, tucked behind a building with limited access required the use of a “skid basket” for lifting the new components to an equipment shelter located on the top of a two story structure. Thackray Crane Rental and crew performed the lifting work needed for removing the outdated equipment and lifting the new equipment to waiting technicians.

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Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

HVAC Chiller Facility Construction

Project: Steel Erection & Chiller Plant Construction
Location: Philadelphia, PA
Equipment: 500 Ton Liebherr All Terrain Crane

Project Overview

Summary: An expansion of Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia requires dedicated facilities for managing HVAC. To meet this need a high capacity Chiller Plant and facility was constructed on the former premises of the Philadelphia Convention Center along University Avenue just outside of Center City Philadelphia.

The Challenge: Huge steel beams, a long reach and a short time-table meant that things had to go like clockwork. Equipment breakdowns were unacceptable and work had to progress in a safe, swift manner in order to meet the project deadlines.

The Thackray Advantage Thackray Crane Rental provided the crane equipment, custom engineered ground stabilization platforms also known as mats to prevent the crane from sinking into the soft ground, over 300 tons of crane counterweights, all boom equipment and of course our huge 500 Ton Liebherr all terrain mobile crane. It did take a while but work safely finished after hundreds of lifts that included steel beams, HVAC equipment, tools, and lots of other equipment and parts to keep the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia or CHOP Chillers humming smoothly away!

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Berger Center for Pediatric Care

Tower Crane Disassembly

Project: Tower Construction Crane Removal
Location: Philadelphia, PA
Equipment: 500 Ton Liebherr All Terrain Crane
Critical Crane Lift: Yes

Project Overview

Summary: We have all seen tower construction cranes rise far above the buildings they assemble. Once the structure is complete, the Tower Crane must be removed. To do that, a large Thackray All-Terrain Mobile Crane was deployed. The long reach of the 500 Ton Liebherr crane was more than adequate to reach the middle of the construction site where the primary construction crane was laying dormant awaiting its removal. Within a day or two, crews disassembled the tower and prepared it for the eventual crane lift.

The Challenge: No crane lift of this size is ordinary. Street closures had to be prearranged because a major thoroughfare needed to be temporary closed. Philadelphia Police provided assistance as requested from the Thackray Dispatch and Project Management team. Adding to the challenge was that the heavy Tower Crane had to be safely supported while crews disconnected the crane cab from its supporting lattice tower. Finally, the lift needed to be performed without damage to the new construction.

Critical Crane Lift: Adding to the challenge for the Thackray Crane team was the long radius and travel distance required to move the heavy Tower Crane cab and equipment to a heavy -haul transport trailer and tractor. Crews worked diligently while the Thackray Crane and operator crew kept a steady watch on the tower cab as it was slowly lowered into place and chained down for transport to its next job.

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Society Hill Towers

HVAC Equipment Replacement

Society Hill Towers, Old City, Philadelphia PA

Project: HVAC Equipment Lift
Critical Crane Lift: Yes
Equipment: 500 Ton Liebherr All Terrain Crane

Project Overview

Summary: Society Hill Towers located in Old City Philadelphia, is a historic and architecturally significant complex containing three 31-story skyscraper buildings on a 5-acre site. The complex is constructed of poured-in-place concrete with each apartment / condominium unit featuring floor-to-ceiling glass windows.

The Challenges: Delicate Cobblestone streets, underground parking garages and tunnels and a crane equipment requiring an extra distance set-back long reach the building was constructed high atop a hill made an ordinary construction crane reach impossible. Adding to Thackray Crane’s constraints and challenges was the occupied towers, limited street closures blocking a neighboring hotels parking garage entrance, and a limited work staging area required for crane assembly, operation and large HVAC equipment haul-away and deliveries. A strict time schedule requiring that the entire crane related activities, including crane assembly and disassembly, equipment picks, removal of old equipment and the delivery and lifting of new equipment be completed within an 18 hour job window. Because work was performed during a weekday in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, there was also added traffic conditions and street closures to contend with throughout the day.

The Workday: The top priority for the day was job site, worker and public safety. Spectators, building occupants, and neighboring business traffic was redirected throughout the workday by a team of individuals that included members from Society Hill Towers, General Contractors, Philadelphia Police, Thackray Crane and others. Thackray Crane’s work began in the early morning well before sunrise. As planned and coordinated by Thackray’s project planning and dispatch team, the streets were closed off by the Philadelphia Police Department. Officers remained onsite throughout the day to redirect traffic and pedestrians. Crane equipment assembly was finished just before sunrise. By first daylight, as the General contractor and others began arriving on site, the crane’s engines roared to life for several test runs and final testing and boom positioning.

Critical Crane Lift: This lift was considered a critical lift because of several factors, including a congested job site and neighboring businesses that remained open during the work. This required further safety precautions including manpower to redirect traffic and pedestrians near a neighboring hotel. Adding to the challenges was the dynamic range each crane pick required in order to avoid the possibility to the surrounding foilage and structures.

Throughout the day, many picks were made to remove the aging equipment, piece by piece from the 31 story roof top. While teams of contractors worked top side on the roof, others worked simultaneously at ground level to add the finishing touches, safety rails and other components to the new HVAC equipment. Once ready, the HVAC equipment was gently lifted off the cobblestone ground and lowered onto the rooftop where construction crew members used tag lines to help guide equipment into final position. Communication with the crane operator was maintained via radio and hand signals as the new HVAC equipment was lifted to a position well over 400 feet in the air and then lowered gently and precisely into position.

At the end of the day everyone was satisfied by the safe, smooth symphony-like operation as the Thackray Crane team disassembled equipment, loaded the Thackray tractor trailers with crane lattice and counterweights, and gracefully pulled away into the sunset at the end of the day.

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Cape May / Lewes Ferry

Passenger Boarding Bridges

The Cape May – Lewes Ferry, located in North Cape May, New Jersey.

Project: Passenger Bridge Installation
Location: Cape May, NJ & Lewes, DE Equipment: 350 Ton Liebherr All Terrain Crane Critical Crane Lift: Yes

Project Overview

Summary: Thackray Crane Rental was hired to assist in the replacement of four passenger boarding bridges located in both Cape May, New Jersey and in Lewes, Delaware. The newly designed glass enclosed structures replaced four older bridges with new ones that offer an extraordinary view of the Cape May Terminal and canal, the Lewes Ferry Terminal and their surrounding landscapes.

The Challenges: Thackray Crane Rental was challenged by the changing weather patterns and by the unique, custom designed and built passenger bridges made from steel and glass. Ferry operations also had to continue while the new bridge installation work progressed.

The Final Workday: This was the last of the four new bridges to be installed. Using specialized heavy haul trailers to carry the new bridge, operators began work by carefully moving the new passenger boarding bridge into position located in Cape May, New Jersey. The new bridge had to be rolled under an existing low clearance bridge that had barely more than a few inches of topside clearance. Complicating matters, the work site was partially located both in a tight space and on a limited capacity dock. Careful planning, setup, safety and other precautions had been taken to ensure that the bridge lift would safely proceed.

Critical Crane Lift: Adding to the challenge for the Thackray Crane team was that the lengthy one piece passenger bridge had to be precisely lowered into a place where there was only a few inches of installation clearance and no margin for error. Moving too quickly or making any sudden movements could have damaged the new glass and steel infrastructure. Restricted visibility also required close coordination and precise signaling and ultra-fast reaction times between the crew members. There was mostly silence among the crew as everyone concentrated on the task at hand.

With help from the Thackray Team and from many other construction crew members, Thackray’s crane operator used the controls on the powerful Liebherr crane to control, position, delicately lift, maneuver and lower the new passenger bridge into exact position. It was a delight to see everyone breath a sign of relief and congratulate each other on a job well done!

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Helicopter Lift – 1835 Market St.

Helicopter Lift

Formerly known as Eleven Penn Center, this 29-story building is located in the heart of Center City Philadelphia on Market Street. The building is a 29 story high-rise that was in need of having its rooftop HVAC cooling towers replaced.

Critical Lift: Yes
Equipment: Super Puma Heavy Lift Helicopter

Project Overview

Summary: The Thackray Crane Rental family was hired to manage and coordinate the multiple custom critical lifts necessary to remove and replace the original HVAC Cooling Towers located on top of the building’s roof. Each cooling tower weighed thousands of pounds. The specialists at Thackray determined the most appropriate course was to utilize a specially designed Super Puma heavy lift helicopter.

Planning: Even before the actual helicopter lift work day, Thackray’s project planners and dispatchers worked to coordinate with the City of Philadelphia and began the plans to contract with the Philadelphia Police Department to handle the logistics for a large scale multiple city block and office building shutdown. On the day of the project, a small army of Philadelphia Police officers would systematically close down all vehicle and pedestrian traffic in the work zone and direct anyone trying to enter the area to a predesignated alternate safe pathway.

Activity: Over a weekend Thackray Crane took on the complex workload for the material handling, temporary storage and synchronized heavy-haul oversize transport of the new cooling towers to the work site. Thackray’s skilled workforce of drivers and operators met up at Thackray Crane’s huge warehouse and from there, drove the convoy of tractors and loaded oversize trailers to the job site. Escorted by Philadelphia Police Traffic enforcement officers and vehicles, new equipment was pulled by heavy-haul tractors as the drivers meticulously navigated through several of the narrow streets in Center City Philadelphia in order to get to the work site. On their early morning arrival before sunrise, Thackray’s project manager began coordination with Philadelphia Police and then started working with other onsite contractors and the helicopter ground crew to provide the final site planning, job walk-through and a planning and logistics review.

Helicopter: To meet the challenge of quickly performing multiple equipment lifts nearly 500 feet above a traditionally busy intersection and in close proximity to other skyscrapers, the Thackray Crane Rental team utilized a Super Puma heavy lift helicopter along with specially trained and experienced flight and ground crews. Coordinating by radio in real time, work started early in the morning when temperatures were below 20 degrees Fahrenheit. Throughout the day, using specialized equipment, the Thackray Crane Rental team worked with the helicopter crews to safely lower the outdated HVAC equipment and to lift new HVAC cooling towers into place.

Success: Thackray Crane Rental and their HVAC Contractor customer met the challenges of working together with others in an urban area, cold weather, between surrounding skyscrapers and with close equipment placement clearances. Plans were made, streets were closed, and safety precautions was taken. Most laymen might see this type of custom critical crane or lift using a Super Puma helicopter as challenging. But for the Thackray Crane Rental family and its skilled team of engineers, operators, client contractor, business partners and the Philadelphia Police department, it was a demonstration of how Thackray Crane Rental can bring together so many “brothers” throughout the famous Philadelphia city to work together as a synchronized, coordinated team to complete the otherwise impossible mission!

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