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Old Poclains never die

Digger Blogger | 15:04, Sat February 09 2013

Many photos of mine from past blogs that I have written continue to turn up on the growing number of plant groups on Facebook. One appeared last week of an old Poclain TY45 I discovered some years ago, in St Ive nr Liskeard in Cornwall, which is still in working order, so I thought I would share the post again.

The TY45, owned by Mr Derek Breyley, was driven out of the shed where it had been stood for many months and into one of Mr Breyleys fields, where it was skilfully put through its paces by Mr Breyleys son Alistair. It was a delight to see the old machine in action and to listen to that old familiar drone coming from its Deutz air cooled diesel engine.

Derek told me that the machine has given them wonderful service around the farm over the years on all manner of jobs including drainage work, ditch cleaning, hedge building & yard cleaning to name a few. Derek had originally bought the machine from St Austell based demolition & recycling firm DRS who had used it for many years on various jobs across the South West, but such is the nature of demolition, punctures were a constant problem and so the machine was replaced by a tracked one. 

The machine was originally bought brand new by South West construction company Devon Contractors; the number plate on the machine would suggest that this was around 1971-72.

The TY45 was first introduced in 1961 and for its time was a revolutionary excavator. Its innovative design was typically French, based on a triangular frame it was driven by four large wheels at the back and two small steering wheels at the front. Despite this odd looking set up the machine was more than capable of climbing around using its own powerful hydraulics.

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During a recent chat with South West plant aficionado and author Hinton J. Sheryn, he described to me how one West Country dealer used to put on a demonstration with a TY45. The most popular party trick was to rotate a TY45 with a heavy duty grab until it achieved full speed and then count the revolutions per minute, which with the aid of centrifugal force could attain 19.5 rpm!

During my afternoon with Mr Breyley, I was invited to take to the controls of the TY45 myself. I was somewhat taken aback by the number of levers that I was faced with! I cut my teeth on Hymac 580C's as a youngster and they were easy when compared to the TY45. I take my hat off to anyone who could master one of the old Poclains and full credit must go to Alistair Breyley for his fantastic demonstration of the machine.

Let's hope this machine will remain on the farm for many years to come and not sadly end up like so many do on a one way date with "The Gas Axe". In this photo, courtesy of Peter Happel, we see a fully restored TY45 on a village green in France just down the road from the former Poclain factory. A real credit to the Poclain enthusiasts who worked on it.

If any other readers have an old or interesting piece of plant that we can showcase here please get in touch with me.

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