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Rise and Fall – Euclid R210

It’s always a thrill to bring you something remarkable here on Gettin’ a lil’ psycho on tyres and today’s humungous story comes courtesy of Gray Chandler with whom I became acquainted on The Nostalgia Forum a couple of weeks ago.

Gray from Adelaide, Australia, spent 14 years working as a heavy equipment fitter looking after 60 plus Euclid R105 mining trucks, each with a 100 ton carrying capacity, on the open cast copper mines on the then troubled tropical Bougainville Island between Papua New Guinea and the Soloman Islands north east of Australia on the South Western Pacific rim.

Gray informs me that it was possible to execute a 360 degree spin in an R105… if it was empty !

One day in the early 1970’s a new $500,000 piece of kit arrived for testing and evaluation the Euclid R210.

It was carefully assembled with a crane to lift the heavier parts into place…

… the biggest crane on the Island was on the back of this 4 axle chassis. Euclid the Greek mathematician would have surely been impressed with the geometry.

The completed Euclid R210, which dwarfed the hitherto ubiquitous R105, had an empty weight of 250,000 lbs. Power came courtesy of a 1,850 hp Avco-Lycoming gas turbine engine, running on jet fuel which was used to drive a Euclid AC generator and AC/DC transformer which provided power for the DC wheel motors, the turbine and generator weighed ‘only’ 6000 lbs.

The R210 was soon put to work carrying 210 tons of material or 140 cubic yards at a 2:1 heap SAE.

The R210 met a premature end when the turbine ‘flamed out’ (self destructed) which immediately caused the generator to stop and thus the braking AND steering system to fail. The operator who gallantly stayed with his vehicle, I am not sure I would have jumped 12 feet to the ground either, became a passenger as 250,000 lbs of rolling steel brushed a puny Euclid R105 aside like a match stick, after crushing first a 3 axle CAT 14e road grader and then a 3 axle Isuzu cherry picker the R210’s wheels were sufficiently fouled for it to come to rest.

Amazingly everyone involved managed to get out of the way and no one was hurt.

The mining company tried to hush the story up, but our man Gray seen here in front of the Euclid R210 managed to get some photo’s anyway.

Despite it’s tropical paradise location Borurganville Islanders were fighting for their independence from Papua New Guinea at the time something that was not achieved until 1997. Anyone like me interested in mining communities in the 1970’s will be interested to follow this link to a website which gives a fascinating insight to life in the Bougainville Copper Mining community.

I am sure you will all join me in thanking Gray Chandler for today’s outsize story and photo’s along with Dave Webster who took the three photo’s of the Euclid R210’s construction.

Hope you have enjoyed today’s trip to a tropical paradise and that you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !