The Captain was a unique machine in many ways. Besides
being the largest mobil land machine ever built ( at that time)28
million pounds..., and having the largest dipper capacity (180 CY),
Many other features made this Marion shovel stand out. Features like
being designed to strip two seams of coal simultaneously, or having
enough clearance below it to allow loaders and haul truck to pass
under it in safety (while it was operating.), or having two trailing
cable reels, mounted on opposite sides of the machine... so it
wouldn't have to turn around when it reached the end of the pit, and
a host of others.
The Captain began it's working life in 1965 for
Southwestern Illinois Coal Corp. at it's "Captain Mine"
(hence the name) where itwas given the unique job of stripping two
seams of coal simultaneously. The upper seam was about 50 feet above
the lower one, And a machine was needed that could handle the job.
Marion engineers went to work on the problem, and the captain was the
result. As all shovels do, it walked directly upon the coal and
stripped the seam in front of it, but this machine also stripped the
upper seam at it's side ( the upper seam was nearly level with the
operators cab). After making a pass, and the coal had been removed
from both seams, the captain moved over and stripped the bench left
from the upper seam down to the level of it's tracks. As the machine
progressed, the overburden was placed in the pit left by the previous pass.