Exceptional transport operation in Zeijerveen (NL)
20 May 2021

Exceptional transport operation in Zeijerveen (NL)

An exceptional transport operation was carried out in Assen, Drenthe over the past few days. Two transformers, each weighing 250 tonnes, were transported to the site for the expansion of the Zeijerveen transformer station. A skillful piece of heavy transport work!

1500 kilometers of inland water transport

Both transformers came from the Croatian capital of Zagreb. Before arriving in the Netherlands, they had already made a journey of some 1,500 kilometres across Europe via various rivers. But the greatest challenge is still ahead of them.

Transshipment with crawler crane

In Rotterdam, both transformers were transshipped to smaller barges with destination Assen. After a few days, the convoy arrived at the transshipment facility at the Noord-Willems canal, especially set up for the occasion.


There, the 350-tonne crawler crane of Wagenborg Nedlift was ready to lift the heavy colossi out of the ship. Ready to start the final part of the journey and to overcome the biggest challenge yet: passing under the A28 viaduct.

Low viaduct

The route from the transshipment site to the Zeijerveen transformer station is barely 2 kilometres long. But what if the final destination is exactly on the other side of the A28 motorway? And the clearing height of the viaduct is 4.60 metres while the height of the transformer is 4.52 metres?


This special challenge asked for a unique transport solution from Wagenborg Nedlift's transport specialists: a girder bridge. This is a very special transport construction that allows heavy loads to 'suspend' between two side beams, transporting them very low above the ground.

A first in The Netherlands!

It was the first time that such a girder bridge was used in the Netherlands. This transport equipment is mainly used in England and Germany. There, destinations are often further away from a waterway connection than in the Netherlands, resulting in more obstacles en route. The girder bridge, weighing 135 tonnes, was brought in from England especially for transporting the transformers in Zeijerveen!

Foto: Marcel de Jong
Foto: Marcel de Jong

Transport combination of 67 meters

Late in the evening, the time had come: the complete transport combination was ready for departure. Such an awe-inspiring colossus! One truck at the front, followed by a 10-axle trailer carrying the front section of the girder bridge, then the transformer in the girder bridge, then rear section of the girder bridge, and another 10-axle trailer followed by truck at the rear. A transport combination with a length of 67 metres and a weight of 460 tonnes!

Steering skills

It then came down to the steering skills and craftsmanship of the transport specialists. With extreme precision, they managed to manoeuvre the colossal combination along the carefully-prepared route. At the viaduct, things looked tense: with a margin of barely a few centimetres, the transformer slid under the viaduct at walking pace. A perfect fit!

Foto: Persbureau Meter
Foto: Persbureau Meter

Watch the project pictures here!

Pictures: Bert Maathuis/ Fa. Wiertsema/ Marcel de Jong/ Ewald Derksen

Video: Meternieuws

Zeijerveen transformer station

TenneT and Enexis Netbeheer are expanding the existing transformer substation at Zeijerveen. The station is being modernised and expanded, allowing it to once again meet the demand for electricity, both now and in the future.



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