How steam powered vehicles have changed the face of heavy haulage

How steam powered vehicles have changed the face of heavy haulage

Without steam road vehicles we’d struggle to shift heavy haulage loads from one place to another – movements that are vital in the mining, oil and gas, construction and other related industries today. But how did these machines develop to the first class technology that we see on display now?

The history of road transport for steam powered automobiles

The first steam road vehicles were used as early as the 17th century but it wasn’t until high-pressure steam power inventions came along in the 1800s that the vehicles were practical to use.

In the middle of the 19th century, steam road vehicles started to be used for commercial activity and they changed rapidly over the following decades, thanks to the technical improvements in internal combustion engines.

These days, steam road vehicles have evolved so much that they can haul enormous loads including some of the biggest objects there are to be found.

Enormous hauls

Large hauls being transported by steam road vehicles began to become more commonplace at the beginning of the last century. Back in 1925, on the Isle of Man in the UK, a whale was transported to the Manx Museum to be turned in to an exhibition after it didn’t survive its beaching. Weighing in at 60 tonnes, to transport it the locals had to put together the three biggest trailers on the island.

From then until the modern day, steam road vehicles have been hauling larger and larger loads as technology improves.

A few years back, an Airbus weighing more than 380 tonnes was hauled across northern England after the plane was deemed unfit for flight.

Here in Australia, steam road vehicles are often used to haul massive mining equipment across the country, like when a 452 tonne crane was transported to Queensland on a truck that had more than 50 tyres adjoined to a trailer featuring nearly 800 wheel ends!

Monster mining machines

The most impressive steam road vehicle of the lot, which is currently used in mining, is the Bucket Wheel Excavator. This vehicle currently holds the Guinness World Record for being the biggest mobile land vehicle. 

To give you a sense of its enormity, it can move thousands of tonnes of materials produced from coal mines each day. There are 18 buckets on its wheels and each section can hold 6.8 tonnes. 

In the space of 24 hours, it can move 240,000 cubic metres of dirt – the equivalent of 40,000 people digging with shovels in the same space of time!

The Bucket Wheel Excavator is a very impressive piece of equipment, too. It stands at 93 metres tall – so large it won’t even fit inside the Gabba!

Learn more about how the power of heavy haulage can help your business by getting in touch with National Heavy Haulage.

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