Bucyrus Erie 3850B

A postcard featuring a Bucyrus Erie 3850B stripping shovel.


Only two of the massive BE 3850B's were ever built, and Peabody Coal Company was the proud owner of both of these machines.

The first 3850B was purchased by Peabody for use at its Sinclair Mine in western Kentucky. Known as "The Big Hog", this shovel carried a 210 foot dipper with a 115 yard capacity and an operating radius of 460 feet. Weighing in at a hefty 18 million pounds, the Big Hog removed approximately 100,000 cubic yards of overburden daily. The Big Hog was built in 1962, and operated until 1985, at which time (rumor has it) it was forced to dig it's own grave. Many parts were salvaged from the hog, and kept as spare parts for it's sister machine "The River King".

The second 3850B was purchased for Peabody's River King Mine in southern Illinois (hence the name). This machine carried a shorter 200 ft dipper with a 140 yard capacity, and weighed in at 18,700,000 pounds. Built in 1964, The River King operated until 1993 before it was scrapped. By the time it was scrapped, the River king had dug its way nearly 20 miles through the Illinois coal fields.

The Big Hog was featured in an article in the January 1963 "Science and Mechanics" Magazine. Click here to see the cover and read the article


The dipper of a BE 3850B , larger than a two car garage.