Whats Happening ?

And yet more big boys toys!

Adrian has managed to acquire not one but two Priestman Cub cranes which he intends to put to work at Sea Lock.   The cranes are at present standing in a yard at Devizes so he and Norman travel there to meet up with Alistair.   Although both machines have been idle for many years, with the help of an experienced mechanic, Alistair has already managed to get one crane working well.   The second, which has stood unused for considerably longer than the other has a seized engine. Its drive chains are completely rigid with rust and whether the tracks can be turned is anyone’s guess.

It is intended that the non-running machine can be cannibalised for spares for the running machine but both have to be removed from where they presently are, to the Sea Lock site.  Getting the non-running machine mobile  is a problem.  After considerable thought and discussion it is decided to cut its drive chains so that the machine can be moved independent of its engine. Following the use of a cutting torch Alistair manoeuvers the working crane up close to the non-runner.  He connects a heavy strop to the non-runner and the drag -line rope of the runner, takes up the slack  and after a couple of tentative tugs, pulls hard on the drag-line.  Much to everyone’s surprise the seized crane begins to move and its tracks start to turn.  Alistair then begins to alternately push and pull the ‘dead’ crane with the worker.  Steve, the mechanic, gives the tracks a liberal sprinkling of diesel and before long the crane is moving smoothly and its tracks turning relatively easily.

Having cut the drive chains the problem of steering the seized crane now arises. It has to be pulled forward its own length and then turned 90° in order to clear a large tree.  Eventually, after employing a combination of blocks to brake tracks, and pulling at an angle, the machine is eventually turned to face the way out.  The tree has proved particularly uncooperative and has received a bit of a pruning from the running crane’s boom with which it got caught up in several times..  Falling branches have just been another hazard with which to contend.  Fortunately the tree was not a particularly fine nor rare  specimen to start with.

By the end of the day both machines are neatly parked and await collection from a low loader to be arranged asap.  All that has to be done before this can happen is that their booms need to be removed for transport.  This will have to wait for another weekend sometime soon.