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.

Pub Quiz – Rear End Wednesday

A great little quiz for the middle of the week. We all know our front views but how about your rear views??! Not quite rear of the year but Marshy sent in this photo on the ferry back from France earlier today.

The question being; from left to right what manufacturers are the three #littlebigcabclub members in the photo??

First to get all three correct wins a #littlebigcabclub sticker or two!

Nolloth Newz part 2

Since my first post on TB I changed jobs as mentioned and what a great decision that has proved to be. 
I joined Temuka Transport in June of last year after getting back from my holiday in the UK and Vietnam. I had been to see the boss before I went away who I knew beforehand through my partner and expressed my interest in joining the team to which he sounded keen. I knew that both companies had a good working relationship but without stepping on each other’s toes so I had to approach the matter with professionalism. I was completely honest with all involved and explained my reasons for wanting to change. 
I still loved the job at Pye Group but I felt the ever changing shift pattern didn’t suit my lifestyle anymore with my partner mostly starting around 5am whereas I could sometimes be starting at 11am. This meant we didn’t always get to spend a lot of time together especially in the evenings where I could be working until midnight if the job required. 
For me joining Temuka Transport meant earlier starts and in turn earlier finishes which was similar to my partners but also the chance to see more of this beautiful country whilst being paid to do so. 
Most of the time spent working for Pye Group was around the local area as is the case for most agricultural contractors. This was a great way for me to find my feet and gain some experience on Kiwi roads but I was ready to spread my wings. I had already experienced working for Temuka as whenever work was quiet at Pye Group they would sub me out, driver only so I had an idea of what it would be like.
Temuka runs a fleet of mostly Volvo’s with the odd exception having been acquired in business deals or takeovers. It is also the largest privately owned Volvo fleet in the Southern Hemisphere as stated by Volvo themselves in a recent magazine article. Within the company there are multiple divisions that include curtainsiders, containers, bulk, stock, bulk liquids (tanks) as well as a rural division that handles fert spreading and agricultural contracting. I have included a photo of each division which highlights the diversity of the company and trucks.

I initially signed up to do bulk liquids, moving fresh milk all around the South Island but before the season fully kicked off I was asked by the boss if I would take on a truck and call it my own in the bulk division. For me this was a no brainer as it meant stepping straight into a V4 FH 540 with a five axle trailer, getting consistently good hours throughout the season and a settled shift pattern. I was very lucky to be offered this truck as notoriously you have to work your way into a newer truck after proving yourself, the condition of how your gear is kept or length of service. I believe the boss already knew how I looked after my gear which played a part in me being given this truck. The truck I was given is also special within the company as it has the racing car artwork on the side of the cab as seen in the photos. This comes from the link between the family that own the transport company being good friends with the family of the son who became a professional racing driver and has won numerous titles in Australasia.  

Since getting the truck I have slowly been trying to restore it back to its former glory. It was starting to show signs of age with the odd bit of damage as well as a few missing bits here and there. I’ve also added my personal touch to it. Such additions include a custom made light board from the UK, front flaps under the bumper, marker lights in the mirrors, Union Jack sticker on the visor and I’m still waiting for my TB sticker (I’m getting more printed as the others haven’t arrived – TB) to arrive in the post. I’ve spent considerable time de-tarring the wheels and cab before getting around to polishing them with my efforts finally starting to show. I feel it’s really starting to take shape now with the Christchurch truck show in March being the next target. I’ve still got matching Volvo mudflaps and an air horn to add before the show. This show claims to be NZ’s biggest truck show and I will be attending with my camera ready to report back with some photos.
My usual working week consists of 6.30am starts Monday to Friday and a roster for Saturday work. I have also found myself covering Saturday shifts for some of my colleagues who are happy with just Monday to Friday. 
A large percentage of my work is spent taking coal straight from the mine to the nearby dairy factory. This work is repetitive where you can usually achieve five loads a day before making the two hour journey home again. This run is quite hard on the gear with rough roads and a steep gradient on entering the mine, never mind the state of my truck at the end of the day. I would include more photos of the mine but strict company policy insists on no photography whilst on their site. I did manage to get permission to take a photo of my truck whilst tipping off a load of ash whilst my trailer is jackknifed beside me, something I never thought I would be capable of doing. 
If I’m not moving coal then it could be fertiliser, grain or palm kernel. When moving these products it tends to take me north of base with the rare trip southbound. My favourite trips would be over to the west coast where the scenery is breath taking and so different to what I’m used to on the east coast. Numerous steep climbs through gorges and over mountain ranges, past picturesque lakes and along the coast line with the waves metres away from the road. Since arriving in NZ I’ve been adding pin drops to my google maps for when I revisit a location or share it with someone who hasn’t been and as you can see I have already been lucky enough to see a considerable chunk of the island. 

By Ed Nolloth.

Photo Challenge – Kentvale

Photo detectives required.

This weekends challenge is to find a photo of Kentvale Transports Scania 113M Centurion.

By all accounts it looks like they only had it on English plates for less than a year as it shows as being exported 9-10 months after registration. This being the case it probably explains why there are so few photos of it. Do you have a photo of the Kentvale Centurion please? If you do email me; ben@truckblog.co.uk and earn yourself a TB sticker.

The Centurion List – Update

Richard P and myself are nearly there with the full list of Centurions. We have had a lot of help from various people recently so thank you all very much. There has been another flurry in the last few days, again you know who you are. Having had this mini flurry, some of this blog may have been superseded already, but I’ll carry on in the hope you can give even more info, so I may generalise a little so as not to repeat things.

J15 EAS – this reg was used on 100 when new but above has been put onto a 113. Now we know SEAS also had 001, which was originally H100 SCA and still had the same reg once converted to the rigid it now is. The above looks a little tired so probably a few years old. So what number Centurion is the above please?

Kelly Trucks. Proving a little tricky to pin point both trucks. Kelly’s had two trucks that we think were both demo’s at some point and both did an aid run to Bulgaria. Can anyone add any further info to the Kelly Trucks Centurions as Mr Kelly himself can’t remember! They used both J606 UOE and also J291 EOP on aid runs, may be the same one? They also used H100 SCA for a run too.

We still don’t know what number J515 JKN was. This was owned by MJ Sewell along with 027 which you can just see to the left. We cant find any other evidence of this reg, so it may have been something else before. Looking at the spec it could have been one of the Robson Road Haulage 5. Can anyone help with this one?

Mr Peckham. A gloriously understated flying machine I’m sure. A 143 500, pictured here with reg number J422 LGA. A cracking truck that we believe met a very sad ending. But looking at the photo we think it must have been 2nd hand when Mr Peckham took it on. What number is it please?

The Millar Transport saga as we have nicknamed it. We know Millers had 5 Centurions (we think!) and we have all 5 against various Centurion numbers, but as sure as we are, if anyone can categorically tell us what reg numbers were which Centurions that would be great:

040 – LDZ 1140

076 – MDZ 3140

079 – MDZ 6140

081 – MDZ 1140

083 – MDZ 2140???

If anyone can confirm the above that would be great. Even an ex Millar driver got himself confused with reg numbers and Centurion numbers!

What ever happened to the most photo non Centurion, the promo truck that was H376 DNK?

Finally, we still have no info at all on; 036, 037, 039, 043 and 054.

If you have any good quality photos that you took, please email copies to me; ben@truckblog.co.uk then I will be able to credit you in the book. We are always after more photos no matter what quality, so again feel free to email or share them on the Scania Centurion Facebook page. The more photos and quality info the better.

Thank you on before of Richard and myself (Ben Sheldrake).

South America Calling….

I always love to hear from my bloggers, especially when you’re on your holibobs and thinking of me! A good pal is currently out and about in South America. As we all do, and you all know it, we all take at least one photo of a truck on our holiday travels, in this blog we are in Peru and Chile. Knowing this particular blogger we should see another couple of countries and what camion’s they have to offer;
“Hey Ben how are you doing. As you may of noticed on my Instagram: katterjokk. I’m traveling around South America at the moment. Volvo is truely king over here and there are loads of F10’s and F12’s and V1’s as well. We started in Cuba and have so far worked our way down to Chile. Here is a selection of trucks from Peru and Chile as we are in a port town at the moment. There’s loads of ex European trucks here and plenty of Scandinavians too. Enjoy the selection.

Off on holiday yourself? Feel free to email me your findings: ben@truckblog.co.uk

I do have another holiday blog to publish from a certain Simon Wilson, but I’ve waiting til now-ish to publish it, as a bit of a winter warmer!

Europe…. Go Big or Go Home

Here we go people, a new blog contributor and what a belter of a blog cherry popper we have for you. Some of you may know this particular character, he’s one of those quiet, keeps himself to himself and gets on with the job in hand types, well he certainly gets on with the job that’s for sure. Away for over seven weeks working for one of the best international hauliers in the country. Essex International need no introduction what so ever, 100% an international haulier from the roots up, now part of the Grampian Continental group, they cover all four corners of Europa every week. To be fair this particular trip has pretty well covered three of the four corners. To start I’ll put up the map of the “outward” leg, but please ignore some of the route as bloomin Google maps wouldn’t take the boat routes that were actually used.

Starting point was head office in Aberdeen, down to Newcastle-upon-Tyne to load for Motrin in Southern Espania. An easy enough run down to Portsmouth to catch the ferry across to Bilbao, please ignore the map for the ferry part! The good old days were back, with a six truck convoy and much to our mans joy all six had CB radios so you can imagine the banter, just like 1986! Off the ferry boat in Bilbao and straight down through the glorious middle of Spain to Motril. A decent enough trip for most of us but this was of course only the first leg of this one.

Having tipped Motril, sadly the convoy dispersed in various directions and we are off to Bourg en Bresse, France for a trailer change, destined for the Greek / Turkish border. From the middle of Spain’s southern coast across to the Turkish border, very nice. Add another couple of weeks to the tally but off we go. Living the dream springs to mind, well for those who dream of weeks away behind the wheel, covering the whole of Europe. What the old school saying?? “You’ll never earn a living looking out of a window son!”…… balls to that, what a way to earn your living. Anyway trailer swapped and keep heading east up and over the Alps (always stop for a photo going over the top) to the Italian port of Ancona for the Minoan Lines ferry to Igoumenitsa, Hellas.

The motorways of Greece look awesome although surely not enough traffic for us Brits. Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to take to a motorway network, like Spain and Greece that aren’t rammed packed with traffic, idiots and whatever else, so you can just get on and get your days Kilometres under you belt before a pleasant evening meal and a bottle of wine for €15……sorry I was close to getting all romantic there. Once into Greece it was head yet further east across the north of the country to the Turkish border town of Kipoi. Due to the nature of the load, it was virtually a single lift off at the delivery point and job done. Lovely jubberly.

Reload details are through and it’s time to head back across Greece to Igoumenitsa for the same ferry back to Italy (ignore the map for this bit again!) Once off the boat, it’s reload in Ancona itself and then northbound and down. A full load of pipes destined for………. Aberdeen. The whole way round Europe and reload back to your home town. Awesome. Perhaps a little easier as an awful lot of oil related work comes in and out of Aberdeen, but even so, that must have been nice to hear for our man Stan. I’m sure the big Scania S730 must know it’s way back to Scotland from most places in Europe by now, so back over the Alps, stopping for the obligatory photo of course, then back up through France to Calais. I have no doubt at all that after a few thousand KM’s of fairly trouble free trucking, with in an hour or so of getting off P&O’s pride and back into Blighty, the wheels would have ground to a halt for some reason or another, most of this reason being the M25.

If you’re lucky enough to have a job like this, you will get to see the whole of Europe. This of course does mean lots of time away from home and the loved ones. That said if you are going to do it, do it with a professional firm such as Essex International they will look after you and of course you’ll end up piloting a top of the range motor for your troubles. If your going to do proper old school European trucking, then do it like they do at Essex International, it’s the only way………