Vehicle and mechanical engineering workshop, Cambridge, UK

Lat. 52°12'44"N, Long. 0°4'50"E

The British Antarctic Survey has a large fleet of vehicles which are deployed mainly at Rothera and Halley Research stations. Before vehicles are deployed to Antarctica work is carried out in the Cambridge workshops to optimise performance and ensure maximum efficiency. Specialist training is given to operators/mechanics where needed and in most cases a short spell in the Cambridge workshops is required.

Over a period of a vehicles life in the Antarctic vehicles may return to the Cambridge workshops for mechanical upgrades, major services, testing and development. The vehicle industry is constantly developing better technology and product, so to ensure the BAS fleet is running as safe and efficiently as possible; the vehicles are returned when opportunities arise.

The development of pre-heating systems and self-filling re-fuelling systems on the vehicles as well as in-house designed sledge systems are but some of the many different items that have been designed and built over the years at the Cambridge workshop.

Two full time personnel oversee Cambridge operations and travel to Antarctica for the Austral summer to implement new procedures and ensure vehicle operations run smoothly.

To carry out scientific programmes vehicles are deployed far away from the main research stations. These vehicles are provided to assist in depot work and scientific field programmes.

Highly-sophisticated ‘tractor train traverse’ transport and support scientific field parties across the ice.  Examples of this include the ISTAR project

Vehicles, such as snowmobiles and small self-propelled snow blowers can spend several years away from the main station facilities and at times mechanics have to be taken to these depots to carry out maintenance.