Locomotive v excavator: and the winner is ...

Joe Good, of Sims Pacific Metal, walks past two locomotives which are to be dismantled and cut up...
Joe Good, of Sims Pacific Metal, walks past two locomotives which are to be dismantled and cut up for recycling. PHOTO: PETER MCINTOSH
When it comes to a battle between a diesel locomotive and a 36-tonne excavator with a special attachment, the excavator will win — eventually.

A Sims Pacific Metals spokesman said two diesel locomotives were recently lifted into the Sims yard in South Dunedin by crane, from a siding behind its back fence, and it was the first time the team had been tasked with breaking-down something so large for recycling.

He said the average car took about four minutes to turn into recyclable metal, but the locos were expected to take about two months.

Once they had been stripped of usable parts, they would be dismantled by an excavator with a special "cold cut shear" attachment which can cut through metal up to 8cm thick.

He said the locomotives were from the 1960s and were being used by Hillside workshops for spare parts.

But now that most of the parts had been stripped and the Hillside facility was about to be rebuilt, the locos were being disposed of.

"The motors and the alternators have already been pulled out, and we’ve already split the bogies [the framework that carries the wheelsets].

"The rest will be cut up into pieces about a metre long. Then it will be sent overseas to be recycled."

He said it was the easiest and safest way to strip the locomotives down.

"The question about which would win between a train and an excavator — this excavator would definitely win."




Our journalists are your neighbours

We are the South's eyes and ears in crucial council meetings, at court hearings, on the sidelines of sporting events and on the frontline of breaking news.

As our region faces uncharted waters in the wake of a global pandemic, Otago Daily Times continues to bring you local stories that matter.

We employ local journalists and photographers to tell your stories, as other outlets cut local coverage in favour of stories told out of Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

You can help us continue to bring you local news you can trust by becoming a supporter.

Become a Supporter