Historical Photo of the Week: A trench machine and workers near the intersection of Thatcher Ave and North Ave in Elmwood Park during construction of the 10,000-foot-long Elmwood Park Outfall Sewer on July 8, 1924. The sewer was completed in 1925 at a cost of $446,700 to serve parts of Chicago, Elmwood Park, Oak Park and River Forest.(That sewer pipe strikes me as being too small to serve multiple suburbs plus parts of Chicago. They probably don't need something this big, but something between the two.)
For bigger stuff, either a backhoe on a tractor or an excavator is generally used. After some poking around the net, I was able to find a picture of a bucket-wheel trencher.
|Heavy Equipment, wheeled bucket ditch-digger|
|Screenshot from video|
|Screenshot, wheeled bucket ditch-digger in action|
|Screenshot at -1:52 of Daryl Holmlund's posting|
I believe this was taken when the first diesel locomotive arrived in Dalhart during the underpass construction.When this video of a big-bucket trencher was taken, excavators where still of the friction drums and cables design. I did see bucket trenchers working when I was a kid. Modern hydraulic excavators are so efficient and versatile, I don't see them anymore. Probably because I have not seen a big pipeline being laid. While researching pipeline construction, I saw a video that indicated that both backhoes and ditchers are used.