For the past two weeks in southwestern Indiana, one of the world's largest mobile vehicles has been lumbering across farmlands and rural highways at a clip of one-tenth a mile per hour.
The machine, a 13-million pound dragline used for strip-mine operations, is traveling 18 miles from the Farmersburg Mine in Sullivan County to the nearby Bear Run Mine -- the biggest coal mine in the eastern United States. The dragline is just half-way though its journey.
To put the size of the dragline into perspective, the vehicle weighs as much as 150 Boeing 737s, has a boom the length of a football field with a bucket that could double as a fairly large in-ground swimming pool.
Meg Gallagher, spokeswoman for St. Louis-based Peabody Energy
that owns the mines and the dragline, tells Daily RFT
that it's not that uncommon to drive the draglines from one mine to another. Still it's quite an undertaking.
Whenever the vehicle crosses a highway or road, workers have to put down a layer of plastic, straw, clay and shale to protect the asphalt from the massive "shoes" that move the machine. Meanwhile, the vehicle requires three people inside to steer the machine and another 20 people outside to support its operations.
Once it arrives at Bear Run, the dragline will begin churning up some 8 million tons of coal per year.
Here's an interesting tale for all you gearheads.