BeeDee & Road Route Ltd

Funny how you get talking to folk. I first spoke to Dylan Wren about a truck he was looking to buy, then we crossed paths again recently as he is an ex Centurion owner (#067). It took a little while for all the cigs to work but we soon realised we had spoken before. Having had a few text chats and a few telephone chats now, I could sit and listen to Dylan all day, plenty of tales from a long life transport and soon to be back in it too. Having sifted through 1000’s of photos, Dylan sent me a few over from where he started and where he ended up. Always great to see those who started on a 7.5 tonner, not quite a #littlebigcabclub member but at least he had the big trucker flags in the windscreen!

“Hello Ben its Dylan here found some serious memories today. My first truck D371DFA a Ford Cargo 31 years ago. Also you can see G930FSM a blue Volvo F12 on the net asking who owned it, we did. It’s on the net now in Stobart colours looks fab. From Bee Dee I changed it to Road Route Ltd. Remember the big tanks I told you about? you can see them on N392FWT & N391FWT – 1550 litres on a tag axle.”

“So many memories, you can see my big red Scania Topline and the other big Scania F600FKH which I bought from DS Walker with an Estepe high roof conversion.”

Now Dylan doesn’t mind me saying so, as the demise of Road Route Ltd is on the internet and was the same demise as many hauliers from the same period who were busy trying to make money from a tough industry with ever rising costs. Anyway, I love old tales and one such story Dylan told me involved one of the tag axle Volvos, 3 men in the cab, including Dylan and a rather quick run to Spain. Over to Dylan….

“It was with N392FWT, one of the Volvo FH420 tag’s. A full load of extremely urgent parts to take to the SEAT factory at Barcelona. Their were 3 of us in the cab and we left the yard on Sunday and were back in the yard by Tuesday evening. Boat out and train back in. We tipped Barcelona and collected a return load of fruit from Perpignan back to Lincolnshire. Even had time to fill up in Belgium on the way back, 1000 litres plus!?”

Well I reckon that’s pretty good going, Yorkshire, Barcelona, Yorkshire in just over 48 hours. Now don’t all start making comments and saying it can’t be done. We all know back then, there were ways and means and plenty of you will have similar stories. Thanks to Dylan for sharing these photos and details, hopefully more photos to come judging by the amount of albums full of photos I know he has!

Those who are happy enough to tell us you crazy run stories please do, just keep them believable!

Liquid Sunsets

I often put out requests, queries and questions for you all, as I have come to learn that if I have something I need an answer too, then one of you will know the answer. When I was driving, a good few years ago now, I often used to see the above tanker and it’s great mural on the back end. As you can imagine following this for a while leaves a memory that you remember the next time you see it, so when I found a photo I took I instantly recognised it. I don’t remember ever seeing the truck parked up anywhere or at a show, although it would never have had the trailer with it at truck shows back in the late 90’s. I put a request out on Instagram and the Facebook and low and behold timothycook702 on Instagram came up with the info.

A great looking truck, clearly an owner driver, extra lights, air horns, deep green metallic paint, euro stickers and a hazardous stainless steel tank behind. So do you recognise it?? Want to know a little more??……..well I do, so here you go;

“He traded as AMH Haulage, his name was Ian Green from Carnforth. The green DAF was his first outfit and red DAF replaced it, he’s a good friend of mine”

Now we know who’s it was and where they can from. We also now know that he moved on from one smart DAF to another smart DAF but a change of colour. Also the theme of a painted rear end continued but this time it looks to be airbrushed and a little more artistic. I think I preferred the first paint job. Also I noticed a Spanish web address on the back end which may explain the euro badges. Amazing what you can find out by asking the blog readers.

Thanks timothycook702 and thanks Ian Green!

Wilson Wednesday with Willis

I’m not going to harp on about the CV but what has been nice is that for once, along with many other unsung professions, truck drivers have actually had some recognition and limelight. This can only be good for our industry although knowing how fickle the UK can be, as soon as the virus has past we will all be the pain in the arse we’ve always been! That said those who are still trucking about are in one way or another doing vital work for the UK’s people and economy. Also for those who run their own trucks you need to try and find new work avenues and try to keep the wheels turning to keep the company going, essential work again in my book. All in all those who can work and those who can still try to do their “normal” job have been going about their business with quiet roads and less people about to cause any issues, if only the clear road thing would stay once it’s all over! We can but hope. Along with many other hauliers, HC Wilson Transport have, as ever, tried to adapt and keep on keeping on, so here’s a little blog by driver Ady Willis on a recent run to Germany during “lock down”.

Day one 31/03/2020.

We sailed from Felixstowe to a regular destination in Holland, Vlaardingen, with a load to Germany. Once we arrive in Holland, did our passports and ensured the trailer was at the correct running height, we were away. A very quiet road network, with very few vehicles all the way to Germany, where we refuel the vehicle.

Very quiet roads through NL & D.
Coffee time!

Once we’ve fuelled up we travel for a little while longer until suitable parking is found for a coffee. Even with the roads quiet some services are still not easy to access due to inconsiderate drivers. We continue to our delivery point and rest until the morning to unload. Happily we seem to be experiencing alot of politeness in the current pandemic. I’ve noticed only hand full of people in Europe not keeping to social distancing rules.

Once unloaded we head 250kms north to collect a nice new harvester to bring to back to the UK. We once again have very quiet roads from Germany back to Rotterdam. Highly unusual especially in Germany, we have seen virtually no enforcement officers on the road at all, I have only seen one in 4 days!! We get our nice shiney harvester on and secured down. We head in the direction of the ferry in Rotterdam.

Unfortunately there was no space to ship back due to restrictions on driver numbers. So I was able to relax for the rest of the journey and with 90% less traffic I was able to find some parking without the normal stress of wanting to go in services but having to be very careful as other vehicles usually block the services and abnormal load areas. During this trip I’ve noticed that service areas seem to still be open more in Europe than the UK.

We finish our rest and next morning we are back to the harbour in Rotterdam to get ferry. We are now experiencing only one driver per cabin and this is making it slightly more difficult for hauliers to get ship bookings, but 100% better for driver. We arrive in the UK and travel straight to Lincolnshire and deliver the machine. It’s offloaded and prepared for work and its then off to work straight away due to the increase in demand for UK grown produce, perhaps a plus side of the virus.

A good blog for your first one thank you Ady, not once did I say “Watch yo talking about Willis!”. It sounds pretty clear that the virus is having a huge impact across Europe and just perhaps the vast majority of the public are adhering to each countries lock down rules. Also perhaps there are just a few small silver linings to the huge dark clouds of Covid-19. Written with the kind permission of Simon Wilson.

Ireland to Sweden 197? – Part 2

Following on from Ireland to Sweden Part 1 earlier this week, Roland Simey gave me the follow up leg of the journey through to Sweden. Please remember the whole point of these two blogs was to highlight and remember, these international runs back in the 1970’s were very different to today. Less dual carriageways and autobahns, more borders and less driver comfort, although the 1 Series Scania would have been the number one choice for a many drivers at the time.

Having negotiated central London and got ourselves to Dover, or indeed if you had taken the alternative route to Sweden and got the boat from Immingham direct to Gothenburg, there were of course still plenty of national roads to navigate to get you to your destination, all of course without the modern aid of Satellite Navigation on even mobile phones. Younger drivers everywhere are reading in shock I can tell, as I’ve said before imagine getting in your truck and heading to Sweden with no more than a road atlas, it’s the old way and the best way as you then get learn where you actually are. Anyway Roland did a little more work and concluded with the following; “Well that got me thinking and after comparing my early 70s run and Philip’s later from Killybegs to Stockholm/ Upsalla, Both with Kelly Freight, it is plain to see who had the easier one! Roughly mileages were 660 and 1,700. That is presuming Philip went Dover Zeebrugge Nordhorn Hamburg Tondor Fredrickshaven `Gothenburg. I may be a hundred miles out though.”

Once again thank you to Roland Simey and PhilIp Hegarty for the details and photos. If you are of the older generation, pre M25 days for reference, then I’d love to hear of any routes you remember and how it changed your trips to this of today. Please do email me with tales and photos and I will happily publish them here on the blog. My email; ben@truckblog.co.uk

Ireland to Sweden 197? – Part 1

Unloading in Stockholm – PH.

I came across the above photo on a Facebook group posted by ex Kelly Freight driver Philip Hegarty, I think you’ll agree it is a belter of a photo. Tipping in Stockholm, Sweden. Just look at the others tipping on the other loading bays. Anyway it made me wonder and prompted me to ask the question of just how did you get your load of prime Irish meat all the way to Stockholm in the 1970’s, by this I mean what was the route bearing in mind most of the A74 was single carriageway and the M25 didn’t exist to help you round London and down to Dover like you would today. I don’t think it’s a silly question to ask, as in my 40 years on the planet, the M25 has been there as long as I can remember.

I asked the question and the reply from Philip was as follows; “We mostly went from Ireland to Dover /Zeebrugge up through Belgium, Holland, Germany, Denmark another ferry to Sweden and over to Stockholm. Great times plenty of good places to eat along the way.”

Or another suggestion from a certain Roland Simey; “Earlier Philip, when we loaded out of Killybegs we used to go direct from Immingham to Gothenberg. Half load to Uppsala then onto Helsinki with the rest of the vacuum packed Lobsters. Then when empty, due to the loading restrictions in Sweden, back to Arhus DK to load back to UK or anywhere else!”

All sounds fair enough to me but then I wondered about the actual route, as I said a lack of motorways and dual carriageways back in the 70’s. So being the quizzical chap I am, I asked for a little more detail and this prompted a reply from the one and only Roland Simey, yes he of R Simey Refrigeration (Adastra). Roland is more than qualified to give us directions on any European route from Ireland, so sit back take the wheel and follow Rolands instructions; “From Stranraer , no Cairnryan yet, there were no bypasses until Gretna which was by then dual carriageway until Carlisle then M6 , M1 down to what is now J2 then crossing the North Circular , Holloway Road, Whitechapel, Commercial Road (A13), Blackwall tunnel to Greenwich, Welling in Kent then A2 with the new bypass to Medway before returning on to old A2, past the Gate cafe and through the inner circular in Canterbury, down in and through Dover to the docks, no Jubilee Way. Hope that helps.” ……and to help even more and to give you physical sight of the roads, the following images are taken from Rolands 1973 Bartholomew Road atlas. The first batch are Stranraer to Carlisle.

So now you have made it from Stranraer into England and Carlisle, we should all be able to make it to London, coming in on the M1. If you are then a little unsure as many drivers do try to stay out of London at all costs, here’s a page of the atlas for London. Once you are through and heading for Dover on the A2, get yourself through Canterbury town and then you will queuing for the boat before your kettle has boiled!

A big thank you to both Roland and Philip for their help down to Dover. If you need a few pointers on how to then get to Sweden from Calais, come back for part 2. In the mean time if you still haven’t worked out who Roland is…….

Metallic DAF

Hey Ben how are you doing? I thought since I not been able to get many truck photos at the moment I would send you a little trip I did a few years ago.

The office called me up asking me if I wanted a few weeks work as things were a little quiet. They focused on two jobs one involved been in my own truck for Trans Am and the other would then be jumping into an EST truck for another two weeks with a different artist. I’ll focus on the Trans Am one as I have more photos of that job.

The job involved taking one of our little trailers to Heathrow where I would load Backline for Metallica that was coming in by airfreight. I then had to take a leisurely drive over to Berlin to a Tv studios. Since I was in no big rush it was the day boat from Harwich to The hoek and then across to Hengelo and into Germany via Bad Bentheim. This would see me go past Osnabruck- Hanover- Magdeburg and then up into Berlin. Working out my timings I realised I could do this during the day as we usually work night times which then ment I could go to Marienborn services just on the A2 there and look around the museum.

This was the old customs checkpoint from east to west Germany and it looks like they just closed the doors one day and walked out. Now you can park in the services and wander around the old huts. It’s all very interesting and worth stopping. After been educated it was time to crack on to Berlin where I then realised the Christmas markets were on. I parked for the night in the Avus autohof and didn’t venture to far. The next day saw me Drive to the the Tv studios which just happened to be beside Berlin Templehof airport which was famous for the Berlin airdrop we tipped the truck in good time and I took myself off to meet a friend and a walk around the airfield before visiting a Christmas market then back the venue and discuss plans then it was time for bed as I had a double drive to Paris for another tv show the next night. We wrapped up the Berlin show and the People in Paris got into contact with me with regards to parking they needed to have me park off site as the place was only small which in itself wasn’t an issue but sounded a bit of a ballache to find.

Part 2. Berlin to Paris. 
Once on the road to Paris we retraced our steps to a certain point. This time it was Hanover-köln-Aachen into Belgium liege to Mons then down to Paris. On arrival to Paris the bus caught up with us and we went together into the Tv studios. The representative of the studio came out to show us where to unload ETC looked at the truck and asked me where the rest of it was. Turns out they didn’t realise we had a small trailer on and the bus and truck could fit in the garage where we unloaded and happily stayed all day. Once we tipped it was straight to bed and exactly 9hrs on the button the band had finished and it was time to pack up as quick as we could and head to London For a radio show. My little holiday at the start of the trip was well and truely over…  (No photos of this section as it was all go go go)

Part 3 Paris to London.
Leaving Paris behind it was time to head to calais. In the middle of the night in 2015 calais at night time wasn’t the best craic but since I was in a rush it was straight into the train and ship across. Next destinationThe iconic Maida Vale studios in London for the bbc rock show. Iv been here a few times before and the lads are decent enough at security and it’s literally a case of abandon the truck on the street and leave it there so that was that. Once I was tipped it was time to to fire off a few emails as the next gig was a secret show we were doing at House of vans . This is a skatepark under Waterloo train station which doubles up as a small concert venue so had to get various different permissions to park there. Once the Maida Vale sessions were over it was quite late which ment a nice easy drive around to Waterloo and park up. On arrival my heart dropped when I saw graffiti absolutely everywhere and thought the truck was gonna get done over. I went out and spoke to the lads doing it and they assured me the truck would be ok as it’s one of the only legal graffiti places in London and they don’t dare do anything stupid to ruin that. A bit of a sleepless night and I woke up to our sister company EST truck beside me who brought in extra Audio etc for the show. We tipped everything out and I went off to swap trucks and then reload for the same kind of agenda. All in all was a great little trip. Hope you enjoyed it and here’s photos of London.

By Joey McCarthy @katterjok

MAN and Machines

It’s been a fair while since I have been able to do a good blog on the logistical magician that is Steve Marsh of Express fame. Recently the Marsh MAN has been seen frequenting the A55 and the green roads of Ireland, in fact this week he has two trips to the Emerald Isle booked. Last week however it was a different story. A lovely little bit of logistical excellence with minimal empty running. Load Northern England, tip and load Italy, then back to Northern England.

Marshy is based near Warrington in the North West of England, not a million miles from Liverpool. The job started on Thursday, with the loading of a transformer housing from Sherburn in Elmet in Yorkshire. The little MAN TGL was built to Marshys own strict requirements and although it added a fair amount of weight, the importance of a sliding roof on the 12 tonner has been proven over and over. The truck has everything required to load a large but sensitive item through the roof and transported over 1200 miles to its destination. Once loaded it’s off down the A1, A14, M11, M25, M2, A2 to Douvres. Boat to Calais and then off down through France, up and over Mont Blanc and into Italia.

Break time in the Alps

Once into Italy, time was ticking for Marshy to take a weekend break. Having got most of the way down towards Subbiano in Tuscany, Steve parked up Saturday afternoon in the last services before the delivery point to take a well earned rest through to Monday morning. Up and away Monday to Subbiano, tip the transformer housing off for testing and then straight on to the reload. What a nice little reload it was! So a little empty running from Subbiano upto Comezzano-Cizzago near Brescia, just the 246 miles, to reload a small aeroplane back to the UK, loading Monday evening.

Loading finished Monday PM, then it was back onto the autostrada and head towards the Blanc and a full retrace of his steps back to Calais. A couple of stops along the way to make sure the plane hadn’t moved were required by Mr Conscientious as you can imagine. The plane was only 300kg all in, made from carbon fibre and fitted with a litre 2 litre engine. The hardest part of the load were the wings according to Marshy as they were so light and couldn’t rub on each other.

#volvogate

Another Calais Dover crossing and then back up North to Kirkby near Liverpool. The plane was delivered on Thursday last week to a flying school on a farm, so the final stretch was probably the hardest part, down through a farm track, plenty of bumps and pot holes and not to mention the low trees! All said and done, it’s all in a days work for the little MAN and it’s pilot. Another round trip complete and another couple of happy customers. The trucks capabilities, the sliding roof, the tail lift to load and unload the plane…..experience is key people, experience… is… key…

A little mileage breakdown just for fun? Yea go on then, why not!

  • Empty – Warrington to Sherburn in Elmet = 72 miles.
  • Loaded – Sherburn in Elmet to Subbiano, Italy = 1230 miles.
  • Empty – Subbiano to Comezzano-Cizzago = 246 miles.
  • Loaded – Comezzano-Cizzago to Kirkby = 1002 miles.
  • Empty – Kirkby to Warrington = 19 miles.

To sum up then;

  • Total miles = 2569 miles.
  • Loaded = 2232 miles.
  • Empty = 337 miles.