Another guest blog this week. The one and only NLG, Nick Garlick. Now forget the marque, someone honestly tell me if it was your favourite marque and it was your trip, this has to be one for the bucket list. Carry on Nick……….
Having chatted with Charles Russell we’d planned to transport his Pride & Joy to this years Trucker Country Festival in Switzerland. But due to the pressures of running a busy company it became clear Charles couldn’t go, so I naturally assumed the trucks wouldn’t be going this time. “Oh no” insisted Charles “you can still take them, I trust you” he said.
So there I was on Wednesday in his yard loading probably the most precious cargo I’d ever transported. Leaving early, very early 03.15 am the next morning I left Coombe Hill, bound for Dover. Leaving that early meant I could reach Dover and park in the lanes in my 4.5 driving spread. A most welcome breakfast courtesy of P&O settled the butterflies in my stomach. A steady run to Reims where I took my next break before cruising along the RN4 to Perthe where I parked up for the night. I shared my table with two drivers from Strauman Heavy Transport from Colmar who were most taken with the 140/141 on the trailer. In fact they were constantly being photographed and videoed along the route.
The pressure was now off and I enjoyed the trip along the RN19 via Vesoul and skirting Belfort arrived at the French/Swiss border at Boncourt with no problems.
After a delicate debate concerning customs documents I was allowed through with smiles all round once I’d got a new road tax card.
The A16 motorway runs south through tunnels and beautiful scenery taking me a couple of hours later round Bern. A stop for a cash machine and lots of smiles and photos from the Swiss truckers gathered there. I was surprised by how many enthusiasts lined the road waving, shouting and taking photos as I passed by.
At the entrance I was met By Ferdy D Martin (Toprun) and escorted through the assembled trucks to the center point of the show area where we unload the LBs and parked my truck up for the weekend.
Some 1500 trucks were on display over the weekend with temperatures reaching 40degrees.
I could have titled this blog many things, but I had to get another Wilson Wednesday on the blog for all the regular fans. Thanks to Volvo Trucks UK we can have a WW with a slight difference. Buying a Volvo will have been a big decision for HCW, especially as they haven’t ever bought a new one before. The last two they had in my early years at HCW we’re both acquired 2nd hand I do believe. I low height 6×2 and a low height 4×2. When I heard Simon (Wilson) had decided to order a new Volvo I have to say was a little surprised. Saying that all operators need to keep manufacturers on their toes and if one can supply a truck better suited to the operators specific requirements then their isn’t a lot that can be done. Over to Volvo;
Well-known industrial and plant fabrication carriers, H.C. Wilson Transport Ltd. of Suffolk has ordered its first new Volvo truck; a high specification FH-540 8×4 Tridem tractor unit, supplied by Ian Reed, Area Sales Manager at Volvo Truck and Bus Centre East Anglia.
The Globetrotter XL 3,900mm wheelbase Tridem Pusher Axle tractor unit is powered by Volvo’s D13K engine, producing a maximum of 540hp. The FH was ordered with an I-Shift Crawler gearbox containing a direct top ratio of 19:1 and a deep multi speed reverse gear with a ratio of 37:1. A gearbox-mounted retarder also provides a substantial secondary braking system. The final drive tandem single reduction axles carry a ratio of 2.83:1.
The vehicle is rated for maximum 90-tonne operations, but will predominately work in the 55 to 60-tonne weight brackets. Both the front and pusher axles are nine-tonne air suspension units, the latter contributing to a rear bogie capacity of 32-tonnes.
“We’d previously bought our four axle tractor units from Holland, but this requirement is now better served through a dealer local to our business,” states Simon Wilson, Managing Director at H.C. Wilson Transport Ltd. “Volvo were genuinely interested to quote for such a vehicle and having a factory built four axle tractor unit was also a bonus, saving on purchase cost and delivery times.”
A Jost cast fixed fifth wheel, steel front bumper and Dura-Bright EVO alloy wheels are also included the specification.
Simon explains, “European work makes up two thirds of our total business and the regulations around German axle weights drive our choice of four-axle tractor units. I’m not a big fan of really big engines, but we have to balance power outputs and fuel consumption levels with terrain traversed and higher operating weights. We operated some early Volvo FHs that were sourced as used in the mid-1990s, but this is our first Volvo ordered new. We’re feeling our way with the vehicle at present and it’s early days. However, there’s been no complaints from the driver,” he adds.
Launched Today in Madrid. More to come.
I do get asked now and again if I’d like to hear or see photos and tales of others more fortunate than myself who have managed to get a job overseas doing something a little different to the UK norm. YES! I want to hear from you all and when you say “I’m not sure what to write” – trust me write what comes and most blog readers will love it. Next up is TB’s new roving reporter in New Zealand, Mr Ed Nolloth.
Firstly a bit about me. I’m 28 and originally from a sleepy village in Suffolk but now find myself trucking on the other side of the world. I started working in transport at the age of 20 and spent the next eight years working in the office of two well known Norfolk hauliers, starting out as a trainee traffic planner quickly working my way up the ranks. During this time I also acquired my C, C+E and Transport Managers CPC as well as other qualifications.
Two years ago I found myself at a crossroads in life where I had spent seven years in an office and I felt a change was needed. It was time to try something new. I applied for a visa in New Zealand and before you knew it I was there, staying with distant relatives who I’d met once before in the UK and looking for work. I had been told work was in abundance in NZ and a week later I found myself working for a large agricultural contractor in the South Island and the rest is history as they say. I just finished two ‘seasons’ in New Zealand with a summer working for Transam Trucking sandwiched in between, something my good friend Mat Ireland got me involved with a few years back as his double driver.
Working in NZ has positively changed my life and given me a different outlook on how to live. When comparing the UK to NZ I often list the followings differences; NZ has less people which is turn means less traffic. The weather is much better which in turn makes the people happier and in general friendlier but from a truck driving point of view there is far less legislation which in turn makes it far more enjoyable. The kiwi idea of a traffic jam is four cars waiting at a one lane bridge, a far cry from a thirteen mile queue on the M25.
After nearly two years in NZ it’s starting to feel like a normal way of life but at first it was like an adventure, something a lot of truck drivers in the UK only dream about and for me this dream has become a reality.
I worked for an agricultural contractor based on the Canterbury plains in the South Island of NZ with a fleet of mainly Volvo and Mercedes trucks. I was lucky enough to be rewarded with a brand new truck at the beginning of my second season and became rather attached to it. The hours and shift pattern was varied as to be expected for the type of work. During silage season it would be a mid morning start but this meant working into the early hours of the following morning. In my first year this didn’t faze me but the second year my situation changed as it often does and I met a young lady who was also a truck driver.
When I first went over I had every intention of just spending six months out there and settling back into life as I knew it in the UK but I enjoyed it so much I was itching to go back. The job itself was awesome and everyday was different, spending most of time driving around paddocks and on challenging terrain. For me truck driving has always been about getting up before everyone else and getting ahead in your day, this turned out to be quite the opposite so it took me a little time to adapt.
For those who don’t know the driving hours rules in NZ are very different. Firstly they still use paper log books, a far cry from digital tacograph cards. You are allowed to work up to fourteen hours a day every day with a ten hour break after each shift. During this fourteen hour shift you are permitted to take a thirty minute break after five and a half hours work. This means two breaks are required a day giving you a total of thirteen hours work a day. You are allowed to work up to seventy hours a week before a twenty four hour break is required and your week resets. On a drivers log book you only have a ‘work’ and ‘rest’ column which makes the whole process a lot easier than changing mode switches. As a British citizen with my C+E licence I am able to drive in NZ without sitting any practical or theory exams and there is no such thing as a CPC. I have recently acquired my NZ licence as I have plans to stay and this only involved a theory test to gain my class 5.
NZ has lots of different heavy vehicle combinations with the most common being a ‘truck & trailer’ which in UK terms would be an eight by four rigid followed by a two axle dolly attached to a three axle forty foot trailer giving you a maximum total length of twenty three meters. Another popular combination is a ‘B train’ where a tractor unit pulls two trailers. On my first day I was shown the truck & trailers in the yard and remember thinking there is no way I will ever be able to reverse this but it’s now like second nature. It’s safe to say my first attempt practicing between some road cones in the yard wasn’t pretty.
The purpose of this blog was to prove it’s not as hard as people think to follow your dreams, anything is possible with a bit of hard work and determination. I have recently been back to the UK to visit family and upon my return I will be changing jobs for a new challenge having felt like I have achieved everything I wanted to from my previous one. I’m not one for changing jobs regularly but my new one will give me more time off with the chance of bigger trips around the country for more money. I’m even shopping my golf clubs out to NZ in the view of enjoying a round or two on my days off.
Until next time…
MTW 262J – Who knows it??
This photo has done the rounds on social media over the last few weeks. Usually this means all sorts of people comment about who’s it was, where it went, when they met the driver in Belgrade, or what ever the story may be. This truck whoever has returned with not a bloomin lot. In my book she has been well worked and looks to be taking a rare day off. I’m not sure if it’s a 110 or a 140 but I bet she sounded a treat. David Scarff took the photo in Bob Stewards yard and there is a comment on FB that the truck at that time was owned by a Greek. All I can tell is that she has an Essex registration plate and that’s all we have to go Inspector Clueso!! Come on you lot always have answers and more info.
Pop quiz for a Saturday, well there is a small quiz and a few photos of trucks! As the summer season is upon us for music gigs and of course the seemingly endless festivals that go on all across Europe every weekend, I thought you may like a little delve into pop history. I do always wonder whether the artists that UK trucking companies support are aware of what goes into their nightly shows across the continent. I mean do a gig, sing a few songs, have a few beers, sign a few autographs, wreck the odd hotel room, then on to the next town or city. Meanwhile the truckies are busy doing
the same all the hard work. I’m sure dismantling a stage, boxing it up, loading it in the right order and getting off to the next city with enough time to do the reverse and get everything set up again is some what of a logistical headache.
How many of the musical lot are aware that there is a team of hard working men and women making these gigs happen and helping them earn there millions. Well I can happily say that at least three legendary artists are clearly aware as they have been photoed with the rigs that keep them touring. So here’s the pop quiz; Who are the three artist in the three photos?
- Not crocodile Dundee pictured with trucks loaned by the manufacturer as they sponsored the tour.
- His majesty the 2nd photoed with one of the greats. Just look at the stickers in that windscreen.
- Proper hardcore, full on rock n roll royalty. No modern artist could imagine the lifestyle this lot had. I know the band unsure of the artist!
Please give all answers either in the comments box below, or leave a comment on the FB page. If you have any photos of the rich and famous with your truck then please send it to me via PM or email. Then we can have another round of Pop Quiz, I have seen a photo of a certain neighbourly Australian next to one of her tour trucks but couldn’t find it for this blog. 5 points on offer for Artist and/or band. Answers on a postcard!