By HCEA Canada
Pictured here is the last remaining Marion model 362 stripping shovel on display near Forestburg, Alberta in 2010.
One of 47 units built, this machine was put into service in 1927 initially configured as a dragline. However, in 1950 it was purchased from an American mine by the Forestburg-based Diplomat Mine and changed over to a shovel front with an 8 cubic-metre capacity bucket.
This Marion 360 was crawler equipped, and at just over 500 tonnes, it was the largest shovel in Canada at the time. It was also equipped with a unique levelling system consisting of hydraulic cylinders attached to each corner of the carbody.
In service until 1985, when the Diplomat Mine ceased operation, this Marion stripping shovel removed countless tonnes of overburden to expose the layer of coal supplying the nearby coal generating station. The search for coal started in the region as early as the 1900s when ranchers were seeking coal to heat their homes. By the late 1940s surface mining began in earnest, dictating the use of massive draglines and stripping shovels.
Restored in the 1980s, the Marion 360 is the main exhibit at the Diplomat Mine Interpretive Site, which has been designated as an Alberta Historical Resource. Remaining on the site is a complete Bucyrus-Erie 120-B shovel built in 1944, and equipped with a 5 cubic-metre capacity bucket.
In addition, there is a 20 cubic-metre bucket on display from a 1937 Bucyrus-Erie 950-B shovel. Thanks to the folks of the Diplomat Mine Museum Society that had the foresight to save and preserve these artifacts as important mining history of the region.
Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, and variants thereof, HCEA Canada has reluctantly cancelled the annual June event, Wheels & Tracks in Motion for the safety of all concerned. A decision on our October event, The Last Blast, will be determined early in September. Please check our website hceacanada.org for updates.
To see more than 60 restored pieces of vintage construction equipment in action be sure to attend the Historical Construction Equipment Association (HCEA Canada) events: Wheels & Tracks in Motion held in June and the Last Blast in October when it’s safe to attend. Both events are held at the Simcoe County Museum near Barrie, Ontario.
HCEA Canada is a Proud Community Heritage Partner of the Simcoe County Museum.