Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Vintage Excavators at Threlkeld

I visited Threlkeld Quarry in August for the 2016 steam gala (see here), and resolved then to come back this month for the Vintage Excavator Trust 'working weekend'.

Weather-wise, Saturday could not have been a better day for the event. It was a thrill to see these old excavators in action.

Not everything at Threlkeld moves! These Priestman excavators sit near the site entrance.

One has to make a special effort to visit the largest excavator on site - a Ruston Bucyrus 110-RB, weighing 150 tons. It really is massive, and was a donation to the Vintage Excavator Trust from Castle Cement. Whether it will ever see action again is uncertain.

When posting this photo, I realised that there is nothing to show scale.

This is better, with other visitors giving scale to the pic of 'King-Kong'!

Various other examples of industrial heritage caught my eye, such as this 'Brown Glutton' Primary Stonebreaker. I wonder how this worked?

I enjoyed the chance to get close up to this Barford Perkins SD9 'Pioneer' road roller from 1932. Did you know there is a Road Roller Association? Website is here.

Various sizes of Ruston-Bucyrus excavators in action.

The star of the show was the Ruston Proctor 12 ton steam crane navvy, dating from 1909. It was fascinating to watch it working away!

Aside from the excavators, Sir Tom was in steam too, providing short rides up into the heart of the quarry, and that was an added attraction on my day out!

The 0-4-0 saddle tank narrow gauge loco, Sir Tom, was built by Bagnall of Stafford in 1926 and is named after Sir Tom Callender of British Insulated Callender Cables.

Here he is getting his joints lubricated!

Heading up into the quarry, proudly displaying the Vintage Excavators Trust Quarry Express headboard.

It's such a beautiful setting in which to see a heritage locomotive in action.

I walked up to the top of the quarry to have this unusual view down at the loco and carriages arriving at the end of the short line.

Photos © Skip Cottage


  1. Haven't seen a Bucyrus Erie in action since some fieldwork at an open pit coal mine in Indiana long ago. Gold standard still I hope for big earth moving. Your pic of the roller also reminded me of the annual San Francisco Center of the Book event where they get old steamrollers to print huge linocut art on the street.

  2. Brilliant Bob - how on earth do you dig these places up - had no idea it existed.
    I do have links to steam - my Grandfather was a Steam Fitter at the Marshall's factory in Gainsborough Lincs back in the earlyish 20th Century. 2 men teams would assemble each traction engine, so if you ever come across a Marshall Traction engine with I.N.I. inscribed on it somewhere (not sure where) then that was him and his mate . . .
    He always said it stood for "I Nicked It"