Pictured here in 1961 is a Marion walking dragline removing overburden at a coal surface mining operation near Estevan, Saskatchewan.
As can been seen in the photo, the Great West Coal Company needed to remove a large amount of material to access the high quality coal seam, and the ideal method was with a large dragline. In fact, the process of exposing the coal seam, removing the coal and placing the overburden where the coal had been loaded out, is still utilized today.
Draglines manufactured in the early 1900s by several companies including Bucyrus, Page and Monighan were increasing bucket capacities due to demand. Steam power gave way to electrical along with diesel power.
However, the Monighan walking design enabled these large machines to move about without crawlers or other modes of travel. Eventually, the Monighan Company became part of Bucyrus-Erie.
In 1939 the Marion Shovel Co. introduced its first large scale walking dragline and three years later, it brought out the Model 7800, equipped with a 56.3 metre boom and a 23 cubic metre bucket. It was the then-largest walking dragline and it continued being built for 20 years!
Although scaling back in recent years, the Estevan area is still a coal producing industry in Saskatchewan. However, due to the 2030 scheduled phase-out of coal powered generation, its future seems dim.
Unfortunately, due to the Covid-19 Pandemic HCEA Canada’s ‘Wheels & Tracks in Motion’ event scheduled for June 13-14 had to be cancelled.
However, to see more than 60 restored pieces of vintage construction equipment in action, be sure to attend Historical Construction Equipment Association (HCEA) Canada’s October event, ‘Last Blast’ on October 17 at the Simcoe County Museum near Barrie, Ontario.
HCEA Canada is a Proud Community Heritage Partner of the Simcoe County Museum.