TBHQ now decorated

It’s only taken two years, well if it wasn’t for the weather and the house we moved into needing more work than we knew about the. It would have been here a lot sooner. I have to say that I love it! If it wasn’t for my 72 year old Dad and his e expertise then it may well have taken another two years who knows!! Still need 4 x bar stools, a beer fridge and a tv but other than that. If anyone knows of any truck stools of any kind I’d be interested and for our friends in the USA one of those Peterbilt floor mats would look a treat. Seriously if you do have any donations to the cause then they will be well looked after. Next I’ll have to find a suitable person with a huge pair of scissors to come and cut the ribbon to officially open the new TBHQ.

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Wanted: Ex Sally Line Employees

Wanted: Ex Sally Line Employees. I’m on the hunt for ex Dover or Ramsgate employees who may well be still in touch with and who knew lots of the other employees during the 1980’s and 1990’s. If you know anyone please ask them to make contact with me please. You can leave a comment below or message me how ever you wish but I have a new of enquiry I want your help with please.

Mercedes-Benz Actros1 for Chiltern Cold Storage

Actros1 - Chiltern Cold Storage (29)

I have championed the Actros 1 since I first heard about it through my contacts at MBUK, have a read of the SCOOP I wrote. I have been waiting for Mercedes-Benz Trucks UK to issue their first press release about an Actros1 and I am very pleased to say here it is. The truck looks awesome, I just think it needs the finishing touch of a TB sticker on the back of the fridge!;

Chiltern Cold Storage boss Paul Jackson treated himself to a very special Mercedes-Benz truck to mark his company’s 25th anniversary – and promptly took it to Spain to collect a load of fruit and salads.

The 1,300-mile drive back from south of Valencia gave Mr Jackson a perfect opportunity to put the limited edition Actros1 tractor unit through its paces. His verdict: “Stunning! A fantastic looking truck which is exceptionally comfortable and offers huge reserves of power, yet still returned a very acceptable 9 mpg.”

One of only 100 Actros1 models which are being built, the latest addition to the Peterborough-based operator’s fleet was supplied by East Anglia Dealer Orwell Truck & Van. It is based on the 6×2 Actros chassis with range-topping GigaSpace cab, and powered by a mighty 460 kW (625 hp) 15.6-litre, straight-six engine.

Thanks to a comprehensive array of optional technology, comfort features and visual enhancements, Actros1 elevates driver appeal to a new level. It comes in black or silver/black colour schemes, both with distinctive green highlights. However, to mark his company’s Silver Anniversary Mr Jackson chose an all-silver finish with additional chassis infills in a matching shade of green, by SB Components, of Wisbech, Cambridgeshire.    

The subject of a Mercedes-Benz Financial Services contract hire agreement, Chiltern Cold Storage’s truck is also fitted with additional Kelsa light bars, top and bottom, and to its high interior specification the operator has added a 20-inch TV screen and a coffee maker.

Paul Jackson, Chiltern Cold Storage (2)

Wojciech Pospiech, Chiltern Cold Storage (2)

The Actros1 has been allocated to long-serving driver Wojciech Pospiech. It pulls a new SOR refrigerated semi-trailer which wears a special livery charting a succession of milestones in the development of the business, and is making regular runs to and from the Italian cities of Naples and Milan.  

Founded by Mr Jackson as Chiltern Cold Store in 1993, the operator is now a leading provider of bespoke refrigerated transport, pharmaceutical & healthcare logistics services across the UK and Europe, and last year turned over £28 million. It operates a temperature-controlled fleet of 60 trucks, the majority of them tractor units.

“The Actros1 is a lot more powerful than the vehicles I usually buy,” he said. “But its launch coincided nicely with our own anniversary and I’ve maintained a great relationship over the years with Orwell Truck & Van, so I decided to go for it.

“Whenever I buy a new piece of equipment I like to try it for myself and this truck certainly lived up to its billing on the run back from Spain, as it’s a real pleasure to drive. It performed brilliantly as I came back through the Pyrenees, while some of the safety features are particularly impressive.”

Actros1 - Chiltern Cold Storage (29)

Actros1 showcases Mercedes-Benz Trucks’ technological leadership. As well as a Safety Pack that includes the ground-breaking Active Brake Assist 4 and Proximity Control Assist systems, plus a driver’s airbag, it is equipped with a high-performance engine brake and tyre pressure monitor.

Fuel efficiency is enhanced by the well-proven Predictive Powertrain Control system and Fleetboard telematics hardware, and the vehicle comes with revolutionary Mercedes-Benz Uptime maintenance technology. Thanks to an array of sensors which monitor the condition of the vehicle constantly, the customer’s allocated Dealer knows precisely what is required before the truck reaches the workshop. The Dealer can then order parts in advance, while allocating sufficient time during a single visit to complete all tasks.

Inside, the luxurious Style Line interior design is complemented by a leather-trimmed steering wheel and Comfort leather massage seats for driver and co-driver, an uprated multimedia entertainment system and a Premium Comfort mattress. Practical features such as automatic climate control, an electric sunroof and sunblind, a microwave and pull-out refrigerator, and rear overhead lockers also contribute to the ‘feel-good factor’ for drivers.

Externally, the specification includes painted side guards and catwalks, Alcoa Dura-Bright alloy wheels with painted hubs, and roof-mounted air horns. Bi-xenon headlamps, LED tail lights and an illuminated grille-mounted star complete the striking look.

Actros1 - Chiltern Cold Storage (31)

The Week in Trucks

Not such a dodgy title trust me. I was sent some photos from Gurdeep Singh on his travels around Sweden and as you can see his Actros is somewhat dirty. From this I thought I’d just ask you lot for some similar shots. I had a few come through but not so dirty for most, I’m guessing that could be down to us here in the UK having a slightly drier week than we’ve had for months! Any way next up is Graham Wilson with a nice shot of a couple of grubby toppers sitting in the sun. Almost a little artistic this one Graham.

More dirty tippers from Paul Wheatley and DE Contracting. I know what it’s like doing landfill work in an 8 wheelers and it would appear that spending your working week going in and out of Calvert Landfill is no different. By landfill we mean landfill sites, no roads just tracks, plenty of mud, dirt, water and what ever else. Landfill really does test the best of 8 wheelers and it’s hard graft on any make of truck.

The 143 might not look to dirty to most of you but if you’ve ever seen it at a show then you’ll know it is usually absolutely spotless. Owner Ian Maclean spotted here out on a road run with the big V8 and by his own admission it was filthy!

Mark Hunsley just wanted a little bit of fame for his new steed I think and I’m happy to honour him with some blog space. Marks just moved out of another German truck into the GigaSpace Actros and with a full, full white paint job she’s looks delightful. I’m sure she is dirty down either side so that earns the place on the blog!

So just a few dirty trucks but it’s a bit of fun. I have to say that I think Gurdeep Singh gets top marks as he is now wearing a TB sticker on his trailer and even through the dirt of Scandinavia he managed to get the sticker wiped clean, top work Gurdeep!!

The Only Way is Hellas – Part 2

When we left Mr Matthew Campbell of MJC European fame, he was parking up at Modena Sud for a dinner last Tuesday evening. We pick up the Essex Express Wednesday morning leaving Modena Sud around 7am for Ancona. A nice little 250km wander down through the Italian countryside on a grey Wednesday morning, arriving in Ancona around 10am. Ancona Port hasn’t hosted MJC for 5 years or so, but Matt found the right place to be and got himself booked on the Anek Lines sailing, luckily Matt managed to get his own cabin away from all the pesky kids off on their holibobs. With time to spare there’s time to pop into Ancona town for a wander. Tough old job this international driving!

Off the ferry around 0930hrs Thursday morning in Igoumenitsa and then southbound and down towards Preveza. It makes a change to take some of the smaller routes or national routes as opposed to always banging out the big KM’s on the autoroutes. Coming out of Igoumenitsa Matt picks up the 18 and points the big DAF to Preveza. See the map I’ve crudely added in below. Nothing like Trucking International’s Long Distance diary maps that’s for sure!!

From Preveza our perma-tanned driver carries on through a newly built tunnel, out and round the airport just south of Preveza, over a dodgy metal bridge and into Lefkada. Having made it this far, it’s further south still and the roads are a little smaller and the towns a little tighter. Then after Lefkada it’s again down a coast road to the tiny port of Nydri. All these coast roads must be much the same as the many Saturday nights our man in the pilots seat has spent cruising up and down Southend seafront. Preveza down to the island of Meganisi is only 50km or so but there’s plenty to take in and plenty to keep even the most experienced European driver on their twinkle toes. As you can imagine the ferry (if you can call it that) from Nydri to Meganisi is barely more than a motor boat with a ramp, it makes the Woolwich ferry look like a cruise liner! Encouraged onto the boat by the crew Matt, has to empty all the air out of the suspension on both truck and trailer to fit on, even then the roof of the trailer grazes the lights in boats roof. In the UK I think most drivers call this snug. A snug fit is enough!

Once arrived on Meganisi it’s off the ferry, turn left and then follow pretty well the only main road, main unmade road for a kilometre or so to the building site destination. All in a days work for Essex’s best. I’m sure we’ve all had that feeling when you’ve gone so far and are virtually at the delivery point but you still have that feeling things could go wrong, with roads/tracks like this I’m sure Matt had the same thought just around the next bend below!

Arriving on site, things slowly start to happen. The crane lorry arrives to help with the unloading. As you can imagine in this part of the world there was no hurry and luckily no health and safety to worry about. Some 2700km from door to door and as you’d expect the cargo was in immaculate condition and although slower than some would like unloading went without a hitch. A few hours later and with an empty trailer it was time to head back to the little port to wait for the ferry back to Nydri. One small problem, Matt wasn’t expecting to have to put in some decent reversing practice……

You can hear them now; “we’ve had bigger than that down here driver!” – no you haven’t, we all know that. Unable to turn round it was a 1.5km reverse out of site and most of the way back to town before MJC could turn around. Now international driving is a thankless task in most cases but having a cream little job like this definitely makes a change and also epitomises both the “can-do” attitude and exploratory instinct of one of the UK’s best. We bred drivers like Mr Campbell constantly during the pioneering years of the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s but these days they are few and far between. I can see the sat-nav RDC drivers having a minor coronary when they can’t find Meganisi in their “regular destinations” list, but a true international truck driver just loads up and gets on with it. Nicely done MJC, but as we all know the sun never sets on a long distance lorry driver, back to Italia to load back to the UK.