Wimbledon Centre Court Roof

Wimbledon Centre Court Roof

Project Details

End User

The Lawn Tennis Association


The All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club


Street CraneXpress Ltd


2000 tonnes

Key Benefits

The oldest established Grand Slam tennis tournament can be completed without interruptions from rain.
The beam, rail, translucent cover arrangement allows the cover to be parked so the grass grows well.

Gantrail were subcontractors to Street Crane Xpress who engineered the control technology and mechanical systems, as well as weatherproofing and drainage equipment, for the 5,200 square metre retractable roof over Wimbledon’s Centre Court. This was designed by structural design consultants Bianchi Morley. The roof concertinas so that it can be folded into the ends of the building, and translucent to give the court an open feel when closed.

Gantrail were consulted during the design phase on the best ways of mounting the rails and on the likely deflection of the rails under load. This detail was important for ensuring that the spread of loading between the wheels of the beam end carriages were equally distributed on the four rails. Subsequently Gantrail won the contract to supply and install all the rails and the associated materials.


Since the first Championships in 1877, the Wimbledon tennis tournament has grown to be the senior Grand Slam tournament with a following of millions around the world. It is the only on played on natural grass and for many years it has been interrupted with rain stopping play. With sporting facilities around the world having stadia with retracted roofs it was time for Wimbledon to act. But the problem of ensuring sound grass growth in sports facilities has been a big problem when sunlight is limited by roof mechanisms.


Gantrail were subcontractors to Street Cranes Express. We originally supplied materials for a Mock Up Rail which was built at Stripworth Mills in Rotherham. After successful trials Gantrail were awarded the contract for the supply and install of the complete rail system. This comprised a total of 336 metres of Mrs 87A Crane Rails together with Gantrail 9216/08 Rail Clips and Gantrail MKV11 Crain Rail Pad. The work was completed in time for the Wimbledon Tournament in 2008 after which the installation of the roof itself was completed in time for the 2009 Wimbledon Tournament.


Gantrail provided supervision, labour, plant, equipment and consumables to install 4 x 84m runs of MRS87A crane rail. The rails were fixed with Gantrail 9216 adjustable clips and mounted on Gantrail Mark VII pad. The rail joints were welded using the puddle or enclosed arc weld method. The rails were installed to the accuracy required in British Standard BS466: 1984 Appendix F.


The roof was closed for the Wimbledon Opening Event – Centre Court, Sunday 17th May 2009. It was closed in earnest during the first year of its availability although the tournament was fortunately played in fine weather for the majority of the two weeks.


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