A new 184-tonne transformer travels to Cambridgeshire substation this weekend

An electricity transformer, the size of a bungalow, is being delivered from Ipswich Docks to a National Grid substation at Burwell in Cambridgeshire this weekend. 

Transformers play a vital role in helping to ensure the UK continues to enjoy safe and reliable electricity supplies, and we need to make sure the old one, which has now reached the end of its life, is replaced.  

The transformer will leave Ipswich Docks at 8am on Sunday 6 June and is expected to arrive at Burwell Substation the same day, between 6pm – 9pm.

The transformer, which is more than eight metres long, four metres tall and five metres wide, will be delivered on a specialist vehicle. The vehicle will travel at approximately 12 miles per hour and will have a police escort for the journey to make the process as smooth and safe as possible.

Due to the exceptional size of the load and its speed of travel means there may be some delays on the route. National Grid, its delivery partner, police, and Highways England have spent months carefully planning the route and the delivery to keep disruption to traffic and people who live, work and are travelling in the area, to a minimum. 

Route from Ipswich to Burwell

  • The transformer will leave from Ipswich Docks via the A1189 and onto the A14 at J57 and head eastbound.
  • It will turn around at J58 and head westbound on the A14.
  • It will continue along the A14 and crossing Orwell Bridge which will be temporarily closed at around 9am for around 30 minutes to allow the convoy to cross it safely.
  • It will exit and points including J55 and J51 to allow traffic to travel past.
  • It will exit the A14 at J50 and take local roads including A1120 and A1308 to re-join the A14 at J49.
  • There will be a brief rest stop for the vehicle crew in a layby at approx. 0.5 miles from J49. This will allow traffic to travel past.
  • It will continue along the A14 until J43, where it will exit to avoid the low bridge at the junction and re-join the A14 at the same junction. This will be repeated at J42
  • Once back on the A14 it will travel for a further 11 miles before it enters onto the wrong side of the carriageway (eastbound) just before J37 to come off at the J37 exit. Temporary lane closures on the westbound and a full closure on the eastbound carriageway will be in place at this point.
  • It will exit the A14 eastbound carriageway (still heading westbound) at J37, with temporary closures in place on the eastbound side.
  • It will travel along the A142, the B1102 and local roads until it reaches National Grid substation Burwell.

Due to the size of the transport load, we are asking local people to avoid parking on the street or pavement between 6pm and 9pm on 6 June on Ness Road, High Street, Reach Road and Weir Road in Burwell so the transformer can safely access the substation. 

National Grid project manager, David Oglesby, said: “Millions of people rely on us to supply their electricity without interruption, day in, day out so it’s important that we keep our substations and the equipment in them working efficiently. The delivery of this transformer to our Burwell site will ensure we are able to continue to deliver power reliably to the local area.”

Rachel Sheridan, Highways England Project Manager, said: “It’s not every day that you see an 184-tonne transformer being transported on the Highways England road network, but we’ve been working closely with the National Grid and police for the last few months to ensure this abnormal load is delivered to the substation in Cambridgeshire as safely and smoothly as possible. Throughout its journey we will look to keep disruption to drivers and people who live, work and are travelling in the area, to a minimum but recommend people plan ahead if they’re looking to use a similar route.”

For traffic updates before and on the day of delivery please follow @HighwaysEast and @SuffolkPolice


Contact for media information only:

Helen Blake

National Grid
+44 7790 824788

[email protected]