Delays as giant oxygen tank makes its way across Staffordshire

By James Vukmirovic | Stafford | Transport | Published:

Streets have been cleared and traffic held up as a giant oxygen tank makes its way through Staffordshire.

The load is 50 metres long and has been put on a route to avoid any low bridges. Photo: Andrew Elliott

Traffic across the county has been made to crawl behind the medical grade oxygen tank which is 50 metres long, 6.5 metres high and weighs 225 tons.

The load is being monitored from both ends. Photo: Andrew Elliott.

The tank, which is owned by industrial gases company Air Liquide, is being transported across Staffordshire from Cheshire and started its journey on Monday.

Officers from Staffordshire Police Road Policing unit have been escorting the tank through Stone, Stafford, Rugeley and Cannock, having taken over from Cheshire Police on Tuesday.

The tank passed through the centre of Stafford, with support teams on hand to cut down trees, lift up electrical cables and disconnect wires and cables to allow the tank to pass through safely.

The route for the tank had been prepared to ensure it avoids any low bridges, with a route out of Stafford on the A51 into Rugeley and along the A460 into Cannock.


West Midlands Ambulance paramedic Andrew Elliott took a number of photos of the tank as it passed through Stafford town centre.

The 56-year-old, who lives in Stafford, said he had never seen anything on that scale ever pass through the town.

He said: "It was a massive beast and, to me, it looked like a submarine as it was coming down the road as it was that big.

"We've seen big generators pass through the town before, but this is definitely the biggest thing I've seen.


The abnormal load makes its way into Stafford. Photo: Andrew Elliott.

"Once it got on the Weston Road, the police put in diversions for traffic and if you were behind it, there wasn't much you could do but follow it as it was going about 10mph.

"The police were doing a great job getting it through Stafford, keeping everyone safe as it moved through."

The tank is scheduled to complete its journey just before Junction 9 of the M42, near The Belfry on Friday.

A Staffordshire Police spokesperson said: "Police are warning motorists of likely delays and diversions as officers help escort a large, medical grade oxygen tank through the county.

Officers from Staffordshire Police Road Policing unit are working to guide the load. Photo: Andrew Elliott

"The tank was picked up on Monday June 15 and will make its way from the Cheshire border through areas including Newcastle-under-Lyme, Stone, Stafford, Rugeley, Cannock, Brownhills and Shenstone.

"This is the first of four similar pick-ups over the next six weeks and we’ll be working with tree cutters and BT telephone engineers to ensure the load fits under trees and cables throughout the journey."

James Vukmirovic

By James Vukmirovic
Community Reporter - @jamesvukmirovic

Community Reporter at the Express & Star, helping under-represented communities to find a voice in Wolverhampton. Contact me at


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