I hope you have been watching the reconstruction of the Ocean City boardwalk on the website AtTheShore.com. Boardwalks are pretty simple structures, but to tear them down and rebuild them quickly requires a lot of planning and heavy equipment. This photo was captured at 9th Street and shows them still at the demolition and preparation stage. They say the new boardwalk is being built offsite and will be added in sections by crane. That, too, should be interesting to watch.
I am learning the nomenclature. The huge Caterpillar machine shown here is an “excavator.” The digger at the end of the boom moves back toward the machine. A “backhoe” is smaller with a digger on the back end and often a loader on the front. It does not swivel. The digger on the back (hence the name “backhoe”) resembles the digger on an excavator, but smaller. A “front-end-loader” has a wide shovel often attached to an existing tractor, but no hoe on the back. The shovel starts at ground level and lifts high enough to load a dump truck. It does not dig down.
A “Bobcat” is a brand of small front-end-loaders that may be on wheels or treads. Various attachments can be added, as on a farm tractor.
As you can tell, I am no expert, but even this small bit of information is more than most people know.
In my childhood, all of this work was done by “steam shovels,” and I even had a working toy one. Later, I wondered what they were still called since steam power was out, but by then, they had been replaced by excavators with diesel engines.