Video of steam digger working at Threlkeld Quarry Ray Hooley organised volunteers to recover it from the flooded sand quarry where it had been left to rot. Apprentices at Ruston works initially renovated it, then it was unused until transported to the Vintage Excavator Trust at Threlkeld Quarry where it was again extensively renovated. It operates on special steam weekends which are advertised on their website below. Anglia TV made a video that records the recovery of this fine machine.
A great debt of thanks must go from future generations to the people who recovered and renovated and still operate this unique example of one of the most important types of machines that built the industrial world at that time.
Excuse any omissions but thanks to: Ray Hooley for being so audaciously optimistic to dream up this recovery; the amateur divers who were looking for a project and found a mega undertaking; the people who loaned the industrial flotation bags; the use of the first hydraulic crane in the UK that was on its way from France to the new owner and stopped off to help; the use of the one or two huge tracked bulldozers that helped tow it out with the help of the crane lifting it; the apprentices of Ruston works at Lincoln and their supervisors for initial renovation; the temporary home at Lincoln Museum; the volunteers and organisers of the Vintage Excavator Trust at Threlkeld who renovated it and maintain it and operate it; Ian Hartland for hosting the working machine at Threlkeld Quarry, near Keswick, Cumbria.
Anglia TV program about the recovery of The Digger from The Deep!
Vintage Excavator Trust website
Threlkeld Quarry website
Earth Mover Magazine: Digger visits Threlkeld
Classic Plant and Machinery Magazine:
The oldest working steam excavator in the world is being restored at Threlkeld Quarry. The recovery of this digger is a jaw dropping film by Anglia TV (with kind permission). It had literally dug itself into a hole – a deep gravel quarry that eventually flooded but Ray Hooley charmed an army of volunteers to float, drag and crane it to its first renovation. Threlkeld Quarry has now restored this magnificent machine to its working state thanks to Heritage Lottery funding and an enthusiastic army of volunteers.
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