Bet You’ve Never Seen A Train Do This, Lucky Excavator!
I bet if you have worked on the railroad for any length of time, you have probably not had a day like this. These guys seem to be having a bit of difficulty with a stuck excavator, and how fortuitous that a locomotive just happened to be riding by. This bad day for the excavator operator is about to get a whole lot better… maybe.
The Problem with a Stuck Excavator
Now, I’m not sure if you have ever had the pleasure of being stuck in an excavator. No doubt you have probably seen one stuck in the mud a time or two while driving by in the safety and convenience of your automobile. If you live in an area of the country that receives plenty of rain, this is a fairly common site. Those excavators will get stuck tread deep in the mud, and it seems as if there is no way out. There is, it just typically involves waiting for the sun to come out and dry up the ground. Once that happens, the excavator simply crawls out of that hole on good old terra firma. However, sometimes you don’t have that option. Sometimes, you are on a job site and time is of the essence.
So the question of the hour is what do you do when you’re 25 ton excavator gets stuck in the mud by the side of the railroad tracks? Well, there are several options. You could try to slide and steer your way out. Many skilled excavators have found their way out of situations on more than one occasion using this method. It takes a skillful, steady hand to perform, and kahunas of steel too. These are not tinker toys after all. These are massively large pieces of construction equipment. One wrong move and you could get stuck worse, or end up laying it over. Either scenario is not good. Plus, this only works if there is no concern for surrounding vegetation. Sometimes laws dictate what you can and cannot dig up or around. I’m not really sure what the legal requirements were surrounding this particular piece of land, but this is a non-issue anyway my friends.
That is not the case here though my friends. How do I know that you may ask? Well, I did a little bit of digging, no pun intended. As it turns out, the excavator operator’s name
That is not the case here though my friends. How do I know that you may ask? Well, I did a little bit of digging, no pun intended. As it turns out, the excavator operator’s name was Alex and his comments regarding the situation were that the motor on the excavator was dead. So now you have a really interesting situation on your hands. In fact, you are in the worst scenario you could possibly be in. Excavators weight about 25 tons on average, we established that earlier. When they are stuck in mud, the amount of force needed to pull them out can generate the amount of stress when pulling something out 2 to 3 times that size. Having no motor to aid in the removal once momentum is established makes you a sitting duck. A sitting stuck duck that is.
You Say “Train”, I Say “Tow Truck”
This is where that locomotive comes in real handy. They haul massive amounts of freight up and down the rails every day so they make the perfect tow truck, right? Well almost. If this excavator were riding the rails is would be no problem to move, but the fact that it is stuck like a pig in mud is another matter. In order for the train to side line the excavator our of the hole, the engineer has to be sure that it will not be derailed. If too much force is generated by the pull, it could spell disaster for the locomotive. There might be two machines in need of assistance. Well, let me take you to school.
What you were looking at there is a diesel train outfitted with an Alco diesel engine. Alco has been making train engines for years and they are an industry leader. This train probably has somewhere between 4 to 6 engines, each weighing right about 125 tons. That makes removing a stuck excavator easy, except for one crucial piece. Pay attention to one thing when you see this. Notice the chain used to remove the stuck excavator. I’m sure it was heavy duty and rated for pulling out an excavator, however it certainly looks a lot like dental floss from what I can see. Furthermore, if that chain breaks I wonder how those two individuals in the foreground would make out? I don’t know much since I’m not a railroad worker, but the basic laws of physics and common sense point to an end scenario that is certainly not optimal. I see things like OSHA, ER, and WORKER’S COMP. So does it break? Well, you should know me well enough to know that I’m not going to tell you that my friend. I may not have been “working on the railroad, all the live long day,” but I did have to do the hard work of seeing these guys work hard on the railroad. I expect the same perseverance from you.