Tuesday, July 14, 2009

You Mean My Electricity Doesn't Just Come From the Outlet?

Laurence's brother Glenn is here visiting. Sunday afternoon we took him on a tour of Western Energy Coal Mine. Laurence is a computer geek here, I didn't get pictures of that because it's not nearly as picturesque as the mine equipment!We started out showing a few of the dragline buckets that aren't in use. This is a little 40 yard bucket, with Laurence and Glenn.The top of one of the draglines viewed from the wall of the pit. The boom of the dragline is about 325 feet long. Longer than a football field. We got to go on one of the draglines. The operator was GREAT!! So willing to let us ask any questions, take pictures and just hang out. They take a bucket full of dirt from the bottom of the pit and put it up in a "hill" on top. This bucket is a 65 yard bucket.
In the background are piles of ground up coal that will be hauled out and taken to the Rosebud Power Plant north of Colstrip. Then the deeper coal will be taken to one of the four PPL Power Plants here in town, or shipped out on railroad cars to other plants in the midwest and turned into electricity there. The electricity that is created here at the Colstrip plants goes to much of the West Coast. The dragline operator dropped the bucket for us so we could have a "photo op". What a nice operator!! Thanks!
Can you believe the size of the chain links attached to that bucket?
I used to work for Western in the Equipment dept. but for whatever reason never got any pic's of me with the equipment. I took advantage of this opportunity.Glenn and Laurence with the Kress hauler. Glenn says that the tip of his fingers is about 8 feet. The haulers hold 200 tons of coal, and they go down the haul roads at about 50 mph. You definately stay out of the way!!

We got in the first of the Kress' when I was working for Western. I remember how the operators talked about how much easier they are to drive and sit in than the older ones. One of the guys offered to let me drive one when I worked there. I didn't do it because I was afraid he would get caught and get fired..... now I wish I'd done it. (He has since moved on anyway:). It was certainly a fun day. I'm glad Glenn gave us the excuse!


  1. I can't believe how big the chain is. It almost looks like you photoshopped yourselves into a picture to look miniature. Soooo cool!

  2. Wow, that's huge!! What a fun day.

  3. Thanks for the pics you sent. I took note of the huge chain too, but also the small vest. LOL
    Tell Glenn not to stand sideways for pics.

  4. Wow!!! I want to come and visit!!! Looks so fun!


I LOVE comments!! They make me smile! Thanks!!