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Historic journey to Peabody mine

World Coal,

Peabody Energy’s 8 million pound dragline has completed a historic journey from the company’s Lee Ranch mine in New Mexico, travelling more than 20 miles to its new home at the El Segundo mine.

The 1570W dragline is one of the world’s largest machines, and crossed the desert carried by a specialised vehicle with 600 wheels. The company noted that NASA uses a similar transportation method to move its space shuttles.

According to Brad Brown, Peabody’s senior vice president of Southwest operation, the transportation feat required precision and planning. “This was certainly a road trip to remember. These machines are the size of a ship on dry land. They can walk but typically very slowly with the help of electric generators. This time, Peabody used a different, more efficient method involving a carrier. We owe a huge amount of thanks to all team members who made this engineering accomplishment possible," said Brown.

Long and costly journey

A dragline is a large earthmoving machine designed to remove overburden, or layered rock, to reveal a coal seam. The 1570W dragline carries an 85 cubic yard bucket large enough to hold over five Volkswagen Beetles and a 320 ft boom capable of swinging the length of a football field. Draglines normally move to new areas by ‘walking’ approximately one-tenth of a mile every hour using ‘shoes’ that lift and advance the machine. This method of transportation is a long and costly process that requires generators and road and power line construction support.

Peabody decided to use the new dragline transportation method that shortened the length of the move and got rid of the need for electric power. Peabody, together with heavy equipment manufacturer Joy Global, loaded the machine on a specialised carrier assembled by Mammoet USA South. The carrier included 150 axle lines, each consisting of four heavy-duty truck tires coupled together to form a self-propelled transport vehicle. The vehicle travelled at speeds of up to two mph, allowing the dragline to reach the El Segundo mine in 12 days.

To see the video of the journey, please go to the World Coal Media page by clicking here.

Adapted from press release by Katie Woodward

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