ARC STANGATE QUARRY
Quarry Life - Dirty Hair!
Below is the ARC Premix concrete plant I operated until 1977, when I took the plunge and became an owner driver
Had a visit from Mick Braund the other day, long time Garbo driver, and we digitised an old video of the Garbos at Croydon and Stangate.
http://youtu.be/y2C5K4JU-MY stangate short video, just the machinery
http://youtu.be/8AWBNDGQd38 stangate long video, all the lads and the banter
Above is the view looking down from the cement silo of the concrete plant. Ron Woodger is loading hardcore into one of ARC's Kew Dodge tippers with the Cat shovel. ARC had both the Cat and a Terex loading shovel working the yards, and also loading our ballast. I had the opportunity on many occasions to drive both as lunch-time relief.
This is the Tarmac Plant, with a group of Leyland and Dodge 4 wheelers waiting to load. The mixer was in the centre, and could pre-batch mixes into the conical hoppers underneath, which travelled back and forth on rail tracks, so the mixer could keep running even when there wer no trucks available.
The chimney at the far end of the plant was a retro fitting to try and control dust, by washing the plant exhaust. Unfortunately, at full bore it blew water and dust straight out of the chimney, coating everybody and everything for a quarter of a mile with a fine grey sludge.
If the blower was turned down to stop this, it failed to draw the volatile fumes off the tarmac mixer, which had an oil burner to give the stone its final heating.On occasions, Jim the batcher would open the mixer hatch to check on progress, and the sudden inrush of air and the burner running would explosively ignite the gases, a loud bang would dislodge dust from every beam on the plant, and from this white fog would emerge a blackened and stunned Jim, gasping for fresh air. He still looks a bit dazed today.
The fleet of Aveling Barford 40t dumptrucks were bought to replace the old halfcab 6 wheeler Fodens when the quarry went to 16 hour working. Driver here is Jim Cripps. The wierd thing about these trucks to drive, apart from the height and sheer size, is that the wheelbase is almost wider than its length. It has a most peculiar way of yawing when travelling over rough ground, quite disconcerting for a land lubber.
Jim is lucky to be still with us. The "hoggin" picked up with the ragstone used to clog in the sides of the bodies, so beside the chute into the crusher was a long bar with a scraper blade on the end. As used to happen in those days, before Health & Safety, drivers would stand on the RSJ beams across the hole, and dig out the muck with the long bar. Jim slipped, and fell onto the vibrating screen that fed the crusher. Fortunately for Jim, the crusher was already full, and the screen wasn't running, and apart from cuts and bruises he was OK. And so we didn't get the afternoon off!
( Jim fought his final battle against cancer and died last year: a great loss, one of the real country characters to the end)
This is the hole at Stangate, just before stone levels fell below 35% and quarrying was stopped. You can just see the landfill avalanche on the right.
When Dowsett were building the M20 section from Swanley to Wrotham, they used these machines, unkindly nicknamed "gravyboats" as a cheaper option than truckmixers. They have a tipping body, and a little set of powered paddles at the exit, to give the wet concrete a remix as it was tipped. The flaw in the plan is that they couldn't load where our truckmixers did, because that just delivered the ingredients for the truck to mix, and they were too high to fit in the tipper bay where we could have mixed their load. With typical British ingenuity we came up with the solution below. Our drivers earned a fortune on radial one bonus.
Aficionados will recognise the wonderful old Thames Trader, one of the most comfortable British trucks ever built.