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Thailand serves up some real digger treats (Part One)

Digger Blogger | 12:39, Sun February 26 2012

Since the Digger Blog’s inception in late 2008, one of the most popular items has been reader’s holiday photos of plant & machinery. Owner operator, machinery enthusiast and regular reader Luke Finney, has sent in this latest batch from his holidays in Thailand.

Luke Finney has travelled to Thailand twice now, firstly going in 2006 with a mate of his who works for AR Demolition, and again in 2009 with his fiancée Simone. On both occasions he has come across some unusual machines and a whole host of rare old classics too, many of which are still putting in a good days work. Luke likes to hire a car and get out and about and is seen here in front of a Caterpillar 320B that he discovered on the island of Ko Chang.

Luke is a massive JCB fan, so you can imagine his delight when this old classic JCB 3CII came rumbling down the road. Like so many old pieces of kit in these kinds of location, it’s highly likely that this machine has at some point been exported from the UK. They often take machines that we have long written off as worn out junk, and just keep them going on and on!

Luke then spotted the old “Jake” being used to load cut down trees onto the back of a rather rough looking tipper truck. One thing I did notice about this machine is that the cab still looks in very good condition and not suffering from the severe cab rot rust that has befallen so many of this model in the UK. Probably down to the more arid climate in the region.

Talking of old classic backhoe loaders, Luke was fortunate enough to stumble across this old Caterpillar 428 which is probably one of the really early examples.  The Cat 428 was introduced in 1986 and I am almost certain that this model would have been manufactured at Caterpillars backhoe loader facility at Desford in Leicester, which coincidentally is not far from where Luke lives!

This machine doesn’t look like it has moved for some considerable time, judging by the rust on the bucket and its general green looking state, but it wouldn’t surprise me to find out that it is still a runner. It would have been great to find out the serial number of the machine and I could ask my good friends at the factory to trace its production history back.

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Luke came across another later Cat backhoe loader, in the shape of this 428B 4x4 model, which was first produced from 1992. The machine, which once again would have hailed from the company’s Leicester factory, looks like it has had a few alterations made to it. The front wheels for instance are not original fittings and that rather nasty looking hook welded into the front bucket.

This small TCM front loading shovel was spotted by Luke, not sure what model it is, but I just love the way they seem to trundle along the roads in these places with no barriers, hi-viz PPE on, and no sign of our obsession with flashing orange beacons. I wonder if the operator has a CPCS card! 

In this shot we see another health and safety nightmare. This old Komatsu PC40 4 ton mini excavator is working away with no engine hood. I couldn’t see us getting away with that in the UK these days. I spent a fair bit of time on a fully cabbed version of this machine back in my Southampton days and I must say at the time it was one of the best mini excavators I had driven.

Finally in part one, is yet another rare machine from Japanese manufacturer Furukawa. Furukawa machines appear to have been popular in other parts of the world, but they are rarely seen in the UK. This machine is a nice, tidy and well preserved example of what looks like a 6 ton midi excavator.

In part two we will head to Bangkok, to look at some long reach excavators that Luke came across and pay a visit to the local Caterpillar dealership, Metro Cat.

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