Scottish Snow Plough Part 2

A relative lay in on Wednesday 30th March, up and onto the Northlink Ferry for 0815hrs ready for an 0845hrs departure and a steady and pretty calm crossing to Stromness, as you can imagine in the winter in can get a little blowy and fairly choppy but no issues for our seasoned owner drivers. actually the only complaint was they didn’t chain Van der Nunn down at the front, which meant he could have left his bull bar on for the trip, image is everything!

Once onto mainland Orkney, it was a steady trip across the island, through Kirkwall town and out the other side. Kirkwall airport is situated to the east of the town. On arrival at the airport the trucks were asked to unload near the airport equipment sheds where the current snow equipment is housed. As you can see their is quite change is the vehicles, the old Fodens and Mercedes have given near on 30 years service, they must have seen some weather in that time! Our intrepid explorers were told that the old trucks are being auctioned off, but sadly I’ve not managed to find them listed anywhere. I’d be keen to know what they go for, if anyone can shed any light??

Through my work, we did learn that only once the airport staff started to put the new equipment in its new home, did they realise that the new trucks were too tall for the shed that’s housed the old trucks. The new truck is lower than the height limit given in the tender, so I’m guessing someone at the airport needs a new tape measure as well as a new snow plough!

Empty and ready to roll by 1530hrs it gave the drivers a bit of time for a drive around as the ferry doesn’t sail back to Scrabster until 1645hrs. Of course there is always time for a photo opportunity and I have to say the pilot of S60 EGN is getting the hang of photos…..

Down into the depths and back on board for the 90 minute cruise back to Scrabster. An almost empty boat meant there was time to take in the amazing g views and coastlines, such as the Old Man of Hoy. Once back on the mainland our pair headed south for reloads not a lot coming out of Scotland at the moment. MWT had an over height, open top container pick up on the wafer deck and Tony was empty back to Hull for a load of tractors.

The second snowplough has already been delivered to Inverness Airport, this coming week the truck for the Shetland Isles leaves Suffolk so that should be another blog in a few weeks time.

Pooltransporte with MATI-Trans MAN(s)

More little MAN TGL’s I’m afraid, but if you cant appreciate them by now, then maybe move along. As always these little beauties seem to appear in my Facebook feed, I see them on the road or better still, regular bloggers find them out and about on the roads of Europe. This time, it was a couple of photos taken by Murray Grant at Gieselwind Autohof of the truck below taking a little break in the Germany sunshine.

Having looked then up on the internet and found they have a Facebook page, Click HERE, looking through the photos and reading the info, the Austrian company do what they say, Pooltransporte. Borders are no boundaries it would seem for a quality swimming pool and with a decent array of trucks, trailers and plenty of mini artics, you can have your new pool delivered anywhere in style.

Click the link here to go to the company website: Mati-Trans Pooltransporte

Whether an artic with a specialist lowboy or a little rigid with a trailer, making a great looking combi, they all suggest a company that is a leader in the service they provide and also are incredibly image conscious. The trucks look awesome kitted out with lights, lightbars, headboards, air horns, metallic paint, a great livery and finished off with private registration plates!

Weekly Italian Job

SUNDAY 16/01/22
Pick up trailer in our yard in normanton loaded for Italy at half 11.30am. Run south via North Weald customs picking up my T form. Cross via Eurotunnel and pinch an hour or so from the French driving ban park at St Dizier at 23.30.
– 12 hour day 805km covered.

MONDAY 17/01/22
Todays a very easy just driving day. After 9 hours off leave at 08.30am run the national down to Chaumont rejoin the motorway. Fuel at IDS at Le Chatelard. Run through the Mont Blanc tunnel in beautiful sunshine. Run to my normal Monday parking at pizza Piccadilly Santhia. Shower and food on my own tonight only English man. Park at 18.00.
– 9.5 hour day 671km covered.

Tuesday 18/01/22
Run to our depot in Como. We used to transit Swiss for this but since brexit we’ve had so much hassle at Chiasso as certain goods need certificates and inspections. Such as metals and food products. The time queuing at border too has made it not worth doing. I tip groupage and clear my next delivery in depot. Next drop is down near Piacenza tip this straight after they’ve had the usual 2 hour lunch. My first collection is at Novate Milanese , just above Milan. I’ve been before so straight in and on. Next collection is out in sticks a bit heading for Lecco at a small village called Missaglia I just get this on before they close and run back to Como docks to the Newly refurbed Restaurant for shower and food.
– 12.5 hour day 425km covered.

Wednesday 19/01/22
Back into depot to fill out with groupage and do all customs paperwork. Our depot here is brilliant and I’m loaded and on my way in 2 hours. I run back through Blanc in stunning blue skies and scenery that never gets old. I run up through France to safe parking at Langres. Again in for shower and food. Just as I’m getting back in truck 2 English lads I know turn up so it’s back in for a quick beer and chat.
– 11.5 hour day 535km covered.

Thursday 20/01/22
Run from langres back up the national top up diesel at IDS St Dizier. Book my parking at Ashford via app. Then go queue at eurotunnel. Takes about 3 hours today about average. Into Ashford for shower, food and a Cider.
– 11hour day 535km covered.

Friday 21/01/22
Run back up the A1 breakfast at Colsterworth. Tip one of my jobs at Cross Green in Leeds, then back to Normanton to drop my trailer and park up for weekend.
– 9 hour day 455km covered

All in all a nice steady week nothing went wrong and weather was a stunning 14 deg in Italy ☀️

By Gavin Pearson.

Centurion List – The Final 4

J727 TRO – 113M 360
J606 UOE – 113M 360
J5 LOS – 143M 500
J949 EDS – 113M 400

So what will come first 100 trucks on the list or a publisher??!

In the mean time we are now down to 4 confirmed Centurions we don’t have numbers for and amazing we have 4 empty spaces on the Centurion list. Is it a coincidence or have RP and myself (and all our informants) just about got 96 other trucks right?! Well there is a good chance as all the others are based on plenty of evidence, each number backed by at least 2-3 facts on the truck.

The above 4 trucks are all genuine Centurions, we know that for sure. Amazing we can’t get anyone with any concrete evidence on what number they were. I have even been having contact from Chris Kelly at Keltruck and even he can’t find any evidence of what number J606 UOE was and he drove it out to eastern Europa on an aid mission!

J727 TRO in Cambrian Pet food livery, but it does look a little tired in that photo.

J606 UOE. Well photographed and was a demo, but what happened to it after? Did it end up with a repaint and on the SEAS fleet after they parted company with #100? Just a thought.

J5 LOS. Perfect looking 143, we know a lot about it and have original photos from the owner before and after sig writing but no number!

J949 EDS. Had quite a few owners including Thomas Douglas Haulage from Glasgow. Still no one knows the number.

The remaining 4 numbers in the Centurion list we can’t allocate to a truck or a reg number are: #037 / #043 / #054 / #068.

No need to go over old ground but if you know anything on these 4 trucks or a Centurion number rings a bell as you’ve seen a certificate from Scania in a transport office, please, please let us know. Comment below or email me; ben@truckblog.co.uk

…..now where the yellow pages…. P for publisher….

Trucks of The Year 2021

It’s been another funny old year and I haven’t actually done many shows sadly. There have been plenty of new trucks about despite the various cancellations and seemingly endless restrictions, and a lot of shows were still able to go ahead as they were outside. My annual trip to a foreign show was once again put on hold, but hopefully next year I can take my own truck abroad for the first time since UJN 509V back in 2009! Anyway I digress. Trucks of Year really comes following the week in trucks idea, which despite contrary belief first came about on TB and not elsewhere. I wanted to point out a few stand out trucks for me this year in the hope you will all share photos of some of your favourites too in the comments below.

I’ll start with Coles & Sons New Old Skool. Coles never disappoint and they really are no show ponies, they spend a lot of time abroad and do a lot of high profile work. For me I found this truck to take Coles back to their roots and back to the family business colours, but at the same time wowing us all as always. Just for info the Coles & Sons page released the first photos and videos of the truck back in January this year and have since had over half a million views, most of which came in the first week.

Next one worth a mention is this Volvo FH V1 restoration my Bert De Mooij and Bert De Mooij. I love the Retro Truck Show in September and for me this truck is 100% what it’s all about. The retro trucking scene is for trucks that have been restored and put into the glory of years gone by, perhaps with a modern twist. If we cast ourselves back to 1993 when Volvo launched the version 1 FH, this truck would have been spot on for a Dutch flower truck. Not over the top by any means, just clever use of paint (of course it’s Dutch!) and a few accessories that are easily accepted as being period. It looks spot on for me, love it.

©️Tim Andrew

Next a couple of personal favourites. The above Actros Edition 2 special Edition with all the boxes ticked is an amazing truck. Once again MB Trucks are pioneering the way with technology, which whether you like it or not is coming now the majority of manufacturers are now copying and offering similar. This Actros is my favourite new truck delivery of the year. Everyone loves new truck day, but perhaps because of how passionate Wilkin & Sons are about Mercs or perhaps because it was the first Edition 2 on the road in the UK, for me my favourite work related truck.

Next up…. The Gr814. My own truck, bought and imported from Germany in February. I love little sleeper cabs, I love mini tractor units and when I bought my first truck in 1997 I couldn’t afford an 814! This has had two owners since 1989 and has done a genuine 260,000km from new. It has nearly all the available factory options from the time, which really just leaves me only to do a little titivating and then hopefully get it painted before 2022’s show season.

Next a proper big hitter and a worthy truck of the year mention. This DAF by Paul Cecil is simply awesome. Even if you’re not a DAF fan, or a fan or green trucks you have to appreciate this Gloucestershire beauty. I don’t know Paul too well but we have the odd chat and I remember a few years back at Assen, Paul saying the truck was in build and was having a few paint issues, but those have all been overcome and the result I’m sure is exactly what Paul and family were after. One thing to remember is that building a show winner takes time and patience people. That said it is a hard working truck, it covers all of Europe on a regular basis and is cleaner than nearly any other truck you’ll see. It is also clearly appreciated by the European show circuit too, picking up trophies at both the Nordic Trophy and the Powertruck Show in its first year. Well done Paul.

Attention to detail.

For me I think this is my truck of the year 2021. A boy hood dream and poster truck for lots of us. I have been doing the Centurion list with Richard Payne and hopeful of getting a publisher for ‘22, but finding out this truck was being restored back to its original glory and then seeing her in September will take some beating. I have spoken to Michael Taylor during the restoration and was also privy to seeing the artwork being done by Matt during the painting process. I have even spoken to John Philips and he is over the moon with it too. The truck is as good as I’d hoped, the attention to detail is everywhere. Note the Keltruck mudflap’s have the 1991 phone number not the current one. I also love the artwork, we all know Matt is a true artist and should be recognised in the art world for his masterpieces. I also like that the artwork is a modern take on the original, as in the images aren’t quite as they were in 1991 but are Matts take on them. A real dream truck for me and once again well done to Michael and all involved, I really look forward to seeing again in 2022. They say you shouldn’t meet your hero’s…… certainly not trucking true in this case.

My son took my picture next to the truck I had on my wall as a boy.

One Last Hurrah

My Actros Claudia in Meer, Belgium.

My driving career was short lived by some standards, 10 years just about, from the age of 18. I worked hard, did the miles and certainly did the hours. 7.5 tonner then onto a 40t tractor unit, England, Wales, Scotland, northern France, Belgium, Holland and just into West Germany that was my lot. That said as a boy that’s all I wanted to do, so here I am 14 years off the road and I still miss it when I get the chance to reminisce. To be fair the reason for the blog was to fill the void life on the road left, hence using you lot and your quips to get my daily fix. Good days and bad days, long days everyday, punctures, cancelled jobs, debtors and traffic delays, all the downsides that are enough, on a bad day, to make you want to give up being an owner driver or small haulier. The next day you get up, clean pants, brush your teeth, start a fresh and try again. The day goes well, some money made and no broken light lenses. Rose tinted glasses are not something I relate too, but being on the road is a lifestyle not a job. A lifestyle I lived and loved but totally appreciate the hardship that adding in a wife and kids would bring to the party.

Matthew Johnson’s first new truck holds some special memories as “firsts” often do.
Another Actros friend, Dominic Newby, would be heading for Hellas as his memory lane.

For those who are still on the road perhaps plenty more years service than I have, maybe it brings some form of closure and perhaps you do feel like you’ve had enough and want a change of lifestyle. I can fully understand your train of thought, but take one piece of advice, coming off the road is not easy and for some staying on the road must be easier. Much like a member of the armed forces coming back to civvy street, it doesn’t matter if you’ve served a minimum 3 years or 25, you still get help returning to “normal” life, this could be something I can relate too. There is much to be said about being your own boss and being able to do your own thing to a degree. As an employed office worker you are in the same place at the same time pretty well everyday of your working career and that for me is hard to comprehend. Luckily these days I do get to move around East Anglia daily and pretty much at my own discretion. I do still get further afield as well and that is always welcome and if I’m really lucky a night or 2 in a hotel. It’s still not the same as being out and about all week (or two) in the lorry and I Mrs Truckblog will agree, I still very much miss it. Life off the road is no easy journey, trust me.

Tom Bloore would very much like one last trip to Espania in his old MP1 Actros.
Kermit can’t decide, but I’d suggest which ever stops still long enough for you to get onboard!

All that said, it got me thinking about the rose tinted days and how much I’d like one more trip out in my old Actros. Perhaps a trailer out to Meer (B), reload for Frechen (D), reload for Oostende (B) and then another trailer back to B, NL or D and another reload back to the UK. If I could, I’d happily take Claudia (the Actros!) and I know I’d thoroughly enjoy it. Who doesn’t like getting back inside onboard an old flame for one last hurrah!?!

Luke at Tudor Services would like another go in his first truck, this gorgeous MAN.
Paul Creggan opted for his beastly F16 as it made him smile everyday he drove it.

If you could have one more trip in one of your favourite trucks, which one would it be and where would you go?? A few good old boys (need some girls if there are any reading) have sent a few photos already and I have to say they are spot on in matching the thinking behind this blog. Please comment below and post a picture, we all love the romance of the road at some point in our careers otherwise we would never have got out the yard for the 2nd time. Whether it was a form of escapism, for the adventure, the money or even just that you loved cracking on to Macon, even you will have a favourite steed that reliably (or not!) took you up the road. Now get posting and let’s enjoy the trip down Remembrance Avenue as we reach for the flowery sunglasses, we are allowed to enjoy the good times you know, not just dwell on the bad ones.

Stuart Bell would take his DAF. They covered most of Europe and spent weeks away together. Happy days.

Centurion List – The Final 4

J727 TRO – 113M 360
J606 UOE – 113M 360
J5 LOS – 143M 500
J949 EDS – 113M 400

So what will come first 100 trucks on the list or a publisher??!

In the mean time we are now down to 4 confirmed Centurions we don’t have numbers for and amazing we have 4 empty spaces on the Centurion list. Is it a coincidence or have RP and myself (and all our informants) just about got 96 other trucks right?! Well there is a good chance as all the others are based on plenty of evidence, each number backed by at least 2-3 facts on the truck.

The above 4 trucks are all genuine Centurions, we know that for sure. Amazing we can’t get anyone with any concrete evidence on what number they were. I have even been having contact from Chris Kelly at Keltruck and even he can’t find any evidence of what number J606 UOE was and he drove it out to eastern Europa on an aid mission!

J727 TRO in Cambrian Pet food livery, but it does look a little tired in that photo.

J606 UOE. Well photographed and was a demo, but what happened to it after? Did it end up with a repaint and on the SEAS fleet after they parted company with #100? Just a thought.

J5 LOS. Perfect looking 143, we know a lot about it and have original photos from the owner before and after sig writing but no number!

J949 EDS. Had quite a few owners including Thomas Douglas Haulage from Glasgow. Still no one knows the number.

The remaining 4 numbers in the Centurion list we can’t allocate to a truck or a reg number are: #037 / #043 / #054 / #068.

No need to go over old ground but if you know anything on these 4 trucks or a Centurion number rings a bell as you’ve seen a certificate from Scania in a transport office, please, please let us know. Comment below or email me; ben@truckblog.co.uk

…..now where the yellow pages…. P for publisher….

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.

I wish I’d been too…..

As a driver I never did enough European work. I always wanted to take my 7.5 tonner all over Europe but back then the opportunities just didn’t arrive. I was kindly offered various odd jobs through Kevin at Delamode but they never seemed to fit between my regular UK jobs at that point. The photo above was my very first trip to Europe at 18 for DFDS delivering herbal stuff to Boxmeer, NL. Look at me, couldn’t take a photo but living the dream! I did various other trips to Belgium and Holland with the 7.5tonners but not enough and certainly not to all the countries I wanted to get to. I have always wanted to drive to Scandinavia and got close to a once a month contract delivering race suspension parts from my home town of Braintree to Stockholm but again it didn’t quite come off.

My perfect destination would have been something like Interlaken or perhaps even Cadiz. All of us must have destinations you wanted to get to but never have, even those who are regulars on the long distance routes, you must have, perhaps more specific destinations you want to get to. Of course when I had my tractor unit I would have loved the opportunity of Turkey or further afield but I made do with weekly trips to Belgium, Holland, Germany and the odd little bit of France. Of course doing the Middle East would have been on my list but realistically in my time it was dying out. Of course going to Doha like my Uncle Dick Snow did would have been awesome, following in the footsteps of those drivers would have been amazing. But most of the places I realistically wish I’d got to would have been in the little trucks. In no particular order my top three places I wish I’d got to in any of the trucks pictured would be;

  • Interlaken, CH
  • Cadiz, E
  • Guernsey, Channel Islands

So here’s the question, be honest as you can be, and no matter how far you have been where have you always wanted to get to?? Near or far I’m not fussed but I’d like to know. Karl Skiltons answer will be interesting I’m sure and I know the three Matthews will have interesting answers too! Come on, “I wish I’d been too…….”

Truckstar Festival Weekend

It’s that weekend of the year where a lot of us truck nuts have made the pilgrimage to the Netherlands and up to the Truckstar Festival in Assen. This is now the 2nd year the show has had to be cancelled and I have to say I am getting withdrawal symptoms! I won’t miss trying to sleep in the 141 in the ridiculous heat we had back in 2019 but I miss the people, the buzz and of course some of the best trucks Europe has to offer.

The last weekend of July see’s around 2500 trucks descend on the TT race circuit at Assen and you will not find a crazier weekend within the truck show circuit. it’s such a shame the pandemic has now seen off two annual shows, so I just hope that by July 2022 we are able to head back and meet up with our international trucking family. There must be a load of new trucks that have come about since the 2019 show so that will be something to look forward too.

The good news is that although there is no main show to attend, just to pacify your hunger for too show trucks, you can watch the Mooiste Truck van Nederland live on the Facebook this evening. There are 24 of the best trucks in NL lined up and ready to be judged in their various categories live on the inter web this evening. Just imagine, get it up on the TV in your front room and give the family a real treat. Put some nutty euro-techno-trance music on and if you have a mate with wooden shoes and an accordion ask him to pop round. I hope that if I’ve done it right you can click the link and it’ll take you to the right page, if not search for it on Facebook;

CLICK HERE For Mooiste Truck van Nederland.

If that doesn’t take you straight in then click this one to go to the Truckstar Page: CLICK HERE

I’m at a 40th birthday this evening but I will be tuning in on the phone to have a sneaky leak and who will win the huge trophy. Happy trucking friends, enjoy your Saturday night and next year we’ll do the real thing, Yoooooo!!

Mooiste Truck van Nederland 2019