Dec 7, 2012

The Engines of Fate

A dirty cloud lumbered across the moon's shining face as two stick figures in rags loped among washes of shadow, looking for trophies in a city of dead warmongers.

As the cloud crawled away, the moon shone on a half-buried giant, scarred and rusted and broken.

The giant I had in mind was the Terex 33-19, dubbed "Titan." For 25 years it remained the largest haul truck ever produced, until the Caterpillar 797 came along. Only one Terex 33-19 was ever built, as each unit would have cost $1.5M in 1977 dollars and as the Titan came along the coal market went soft, impacting mining operations all over the world, so the market for such colossal machines failed to materialize.

The Terex 33-19 pictured above now serves as a tourist attraction in Sparwood, B.C. Another nearby attraction, far older, is the mountain shadow popularly known as Ghost Rider. The rider appears on an upside-down mountain, Mount Hosmer. No, "upside-down mountain" doesn't mean what you think it does. This simply means that the oldest part of the rock formation is near the top, and the newest can be found toward the bottom.  

Just look at that beast. The Caterpillar 797 weighs 1,230,000 lb (557,900 kg). Those tires are 90 ft. wide (9.14 m). Here's a video of the 797B at work.

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