Trains and diggers

I was in two minds whether to post this or not.

But then I thought of the countless times I’ve watched it – and thought it may go down well with you all.

Hope so.

Latest ‘ebay cheat sheet’ here

That’s all for today!



47 Responses to Trains and diggers

  1. David says:

    A brilliant piece of manouevering to say the least

  2. I have seen this as well Al it did amuse me , very ingenious

  3. Wayne Spencer says:

    THAT is super cool!!! Kudo to that operator!!!

  4. James says:

    Very ingenious! The beginning of the second move had me holding my breath as he looked to be over-extending the arm.

  5. Tommy Redman says:

    Amazing!! That operator sure knew his srtuff or had an extraordinary amount of nerve. Can’t imagine the fallout if that thing fell!!!!!

  6. Peter Jacobs says:

    Pure skill.

  7. Thomad Meleck says:

    Has OSHA seen this yet? Amazing. How does one rehearse for something like this? Truly a great advertisement for Caterpillar, man and machine. I do wonder if there is a practical application for this maneuver. Will he be trying to empty the train car? Why is he doing this?

  8. Sheila says:

    Amazing. I couldn’t stop watching. Thanks and hope you feel better.

  9. truckman1999 says:

    pure fun,just fat arming. love it

  10. Rob Crain says:

    I’ve seen them do it with a backhoe mounted on a tractor in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado to grapple and distribute new ties along the railway in preparation for replacing old ones.

  11. John says:

    I have seen this done in Arizona and New Mexico at small gravel or concrete plants without facilities for a bottom dump from the hopper cars. The Cat actually unloads the first car… proceeds to the next car…unloads the gravel “pad” he was sitting on in the first car…and the process continues for each car in the string.

  12. Paco Gayon says:

    Fantastic job, Great control and calculation of balance and gravity. I was gued to watch the whole manuver.
    Paco Gayon

  13. Dan Leisher says:

    Why not build a steel ramp to a lower flatbed car? What about the height in transport?

    Dan L

  14. STEVE CALDWELL says:


  15. BJ Randleman says:


  16. jim says:

    he has more guts than I

  17. Tom Oliver says:

    As Dan says above, there must be an easier way! Or is it just done so he can say he’s done it? Thanks Al, and hope you feel better soon.

  18. I have to put this scene on my new layout!!! Just shows what a good operator is capable of.

  19. charlie says:

    Great job,The man knows what he’s doing.

  20. John says:

    An exceptionally skilled driver for sure …

    And his encore is ….???

  21. Steve Randall says:

    We used to do the same to load CATs into the back of a trailer to take them from the uk to Europe

  22. Richard Moses says:

    For those who wonder why some one would load a back hoe into a gravel car; the answer is to unload the gravel in the car. We use the same concept for loading and unloading gravel, ties, rails, and other pieces of railroad stuff when we are out on a contract to relay rail roads tracks; which often sees us putting in new ballast, as necessary, along the rebuilt line.

  23. Barry says:

    Excellent bit of eye hand co-ordination it looks impressive, which it is, but these guys do it so often it becomes almost second nature. Still I reckon they have balls of steel…..

  24. THOMAS says:


  25. Dingo says:

    Saw that done on Mythbusters one night as well as on another show, the second show was much better.

  26. Jesse Hunt says:

    Unbelieveable!! I know there are ramps that are used, but this guy decided his way was better.

  27. Arnie Steiner says:

    Despite the fact that Steve Caldwell’s response makes this seem common, it’s truly an amazing feat of maneuvering and guts (or is it simply recklessness?).

  28. Jesse Hunt says:

    I have a friend who works as a supervisor with CSX here in NC, says there are a few that can do this and really amazing to watch. Hes tried it on a lowboy trailer with a backhoe and it scared him or should I say his nerves were put the test.

  29. Joseph Watts says:

    that is the most impressive thing i have ever seen but i sure that OSHA wouldn’t approve of it. but again kudos to the operator. he did the impossible.

  30. Ray hartley says:

    I don’t know whether to applaud him or curse him. It is certainly a fantastic bit of skill but on the second manoeuvre he relied on steel to steel friction, not usually a good idea. I have never seen anything like it. A brilliant video. I will now go and try to put the car in the garage.

  31. Rod Mackay says:

    I’m surprised people are saying you’d do this to unload the train out on site – surely you’d end up with the Cat sitting in the bottom of the gondola unable to get out to the next one? As for unloading at a terminal without a bottom-dump for hopper cars, surely a simple grab on a mobile crane or 360 working from the ground would do the job much faster, being able to just track to the next car as it emptied them? If this is a common practice it may explain why so many of your gondolas get scarred, torn, mis-shapen and covered in rust and scars.
    There are obviously many very skilful operators but from some of the things I’ve seen from my signalbox – such as the guy who hit a signal gantry with a raised bucket, or the one who made an unplanned lift and ending up dropping his whole machine sideways onto the point-rodding – I’d say a proportion of contract plant drivers are just plain dangerous.

  32. MIKE HOOPER says:

    Very skilled operator! What was the whole purpose of this operation? Apart from spending quite a sum of cash to cut and weld the support pods etc; it must just be a very bad P.R. stunt!!

  33. John Coffey says:

    this is a real good video

  34. James silver says:

    Strange way to get [ cat in box,] hope you get well soon Al, not bad vid cheers James…

  35. james says:

    un be leave able

  36. Louis Seldon says:

    “digger” like the nick name for a mortician I know? Looks like a hard landing coming up for the operator?

  37. Barry says:

    That takes a lot of nerve & bottle to do that & a very good operator.
    Well done.

  38. dave says:

    I worked for a oil field pipe line contractor as a lowboy driver this was how I cheated loading trackhoe’s like this and backhoe’s with out removing the trailers neck witch was hard to do in the deep snow and ice and a LOT faster when it was really cold!! I put a 580 case into a dump truck’s bed a few times when there was no trailer available we unbolted the tail gate lifted it off with the backhoe loaded it then put the tailgate back on . You had to be REALLY careful and watch the oil pressure light for if it went on for more than a few seconds the engine would shut down leaving you hanging as you mite say !!!

  39. Tim says:

    Wow I was on the edge of my seat the whole time! That guy is great with that thing!

  40. Raymond Bull says:

    Brilliant, what an uplifting experience

  41. Ash says:


  42. Butch says:

    I wonder what OSHA would say about this? Looks like it would be against all codes, and looks like the power lines are within the limits of the swing?

  43. John Reynolds says:

    I never tire of watching a skilled operator practice his (or her) craft. There is something poetic about watching the hands of a master at work.
    I hope you feel better soon!

  44. Bruce Ring says:

    Hope OSHA isn’t watching!
    There might be some heafty fines come out of that.

  45. vaasu says:

    Awesome ……..great

  46. Michael C says:

    Hello Al, superb video, enjoyed immensly. By the way. Go to bed, read plenty of train books and mags. Take two asprins. I will get back with you in a week with my bill. Michael C.

  47. Tim says:

    An accident waiting to happen and would be outlawed in UK by HSE – Health and Safety legislation on a number of counts. Why needlessly risk someone’s life?
    For the amount of money it would have cost to fabricate the two specially made ‘steps’, a crane could have been hired in to lift the machine in quickly and safely but then again it would not have been as ‘entertaining’.
    Entertaining that is until it had tipped off and needlessly killed the driver. Skilful ? No irresponsible and dangerous.

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