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!

Italian MAN of Mystery

There is a bridge in Kent near Junction 9 of the M20, that has been known to have one of the longest serving truck photographers in the UK on it doing his thing. Mr Neil Jarrold has been photographing trucks since the 1980’s up and down the UK and across Europe, he is one of the originals and most of us at some point have seen or unknowingly shared some of his photos. I have known Neil for about 10 or 12 years now I guess, since my days at HC Wilson Transport when he used to call in to take a few photos, believe it or not. Realising Neil is a bigger truck perv than myself we soon became well acquainted. Here we are so many years later and Neil is still sending me awesome photos of my favourite kind of trucks…. #littlebigcabclub members from across Europe.

Neil sent me the above photo after his first visit to his beloved bridge for some time. This was two weeks ago today, so the little Italian MAN in focus is still a regular visitor to the UK. What a great photo and what a cracking little camion. This Italian company having been coming to the UK for a number of years now as Neil has sent me photos of this truck and others on the fleet before.

All three photos are of CT168JF and have probably been taken over the last 3-4 years. Very slight changes to the cab over that time but it’s still in great condition and well look after. According to the company website, Trea Á Trasporti are specialists in hanging garments and clothing. Bearing this in mind where do they go to in the UK? Does anyone else regularly see this little Italian stallion in the UK maybe at it delivery point? I’d guess it’s probably a regular job so hopefully one of you bloggers can tell me a little more. Maybe someone can even tag the Italian driver, Biondo, on Facebook. This truck is definitely worth a #littlebigcabclub sticker!

Neil keep the awesome photos coming and keep updating your Facebook page with your sightings; View from a Bridge Junc Nine Bloggers get hunting for this little MAN TGL while it’s here in the UK.

Mountain MAN

…..and he’s back! The MAN always in the mirror, the MAN of quite a few moments on the blog, the MAN about most European towns, the MAN that MAN should be rewarding with the amount of publicity this MAN gets them! Still the best truck on the MAN range and possibly the best 12 tonner on the market (it has a built in fridge unlike the rest).

So it’s been a been a fair while since top blogger Steve Marsh of Steve Marsh Express fame has felt he has done a job worthy of another blog. From what I can work out he’s been busy keeping the Irish Express routes alive and kicking. Plenty of work from the North West out to Ireland, well enough to keep Marshy busy most weeks. Imagine my surprise when I saw the SME availability email come round advertising that he would be empty all the way down in France 74. Now even with my basic knowledge of Europa I knew this is down in the mountains heading for Swiss.

I love Marshy’s emails and I love the fact he still loves his job and getting out and about. Please note even this trip started with a Shamrock Express! Here we go then…….

Bring on the blogs…. Blogtastic !!!!

Mon: Load a full load of shop fittings from Manchester to tip Ireland Tuesday ASAP.

Tue: Deliver to a card shop in Dublin centre. Tried to load a 96” screen from Facebook, Dublin for Telford but security wouldn’t let me as no one had told them I was coming. Had to leave empty handed and no back load. 😢

Wed: Load a full load of assorted building supplies from Lichfield, GB.

Thurs: French travel day!

 Fri: Deliver to what will be a very nice ski apartment renovation in Les Gets, France 74.

 Mon: Loading a sliding roof job in Bourges, France for Preston, GB.

 Like the old days for me too 😊!!

Quel agréable voyage mon bon homme. Nice to get out to mainland Europe I’m sure and not just quick one either. I’m sure a sunny trip to the alps is always near the top of a good trip to France. Hopefully we won’t have to wait to long for the Marsh MAN to appear back on our screens with voyage Europeén.

MB 817 still Going International

After all the hype of the little MB814 I saw last week on my holidays, I was sent a few photos from various readers….thank you. Of course there’s always a Top Trump in the pack and it just so happens it was sent it by one of the original 814 pilots himself, Mat Ireland. Out and about in Austria last week on his way to Romania, imagines Mats excitement when his big DAF came upon this little #littlebigcabclub gold member! This is a Mercedes-Benz 817, sleeper with tilt body as you can see. Photoed in Austria heading eastbound, it was most likely heading home to Serbia judging by the registration plate. Another 1000km minimum added to the odometer if not more depending where it had actually been. I do wonder how many miles the old girl had in her but I guess that’s the age old question, I better get measuring that piece of string! Top Spotting Mat thank you.

The Holy Grail of 7.5 Tonners

Those of you who know, know – I’ve heard that phrase a bit this week so thought I’d use it. I love a Mercedes-Benz and I love a sleeper cabbed 814, if you’re into #littlebigcabclub trucks such as this, then you know back in the early/mid 1990’s there was no better 7.5 tonner than the little German. For its day this was a big cab on a small truck compared to the competition who to be honest didn’t really offer a “proper” sleeper on their smaller ranges. Couple the comfort and no speed limiter, back then this made the 814 the ultimate international hot shot truck. I still remember a few days after getting my car licence, I met a chap in an 814 from Nottingham I think. He had a sleeper cabbed version with a crane on and he said all he did was hot shot oil field work all over Europe….perfect. I know my pal Mat Ireland (Now at Transam Trucking) started his international driving career on an 814 with a 20ft Tilt body lucky bugger!

Now the photo above is of a brand new 814 about to be handed over to, I’m sure, a very happy customer, at my now place of work, Orwell Trucks way back in 1992ish as it’s a K registration. I have to say I know nothing about the truck or what it was intended to be used for, but may be it was embarking on its own international career?? Anyway a little cracker in my book.

Imagine my surprise when driving around the Essex riviera this week with the family and in a back street I spot a sleeper cabbed 814. I backed the car up, opened the window and took two quick photos not really taking much in other than it being an 814. Once home I looked at the photo and instantly recognised the number plate. A delve through my archives and I confirmed (only to myself!) that the truck I spotted was the very same truck as I have scanned and have on my work screen saver. So a little now and then photo with a 27 year gap. I looks in pretty good condition to be honest and you can still see the slightly modified original sign writing. I am very very tempted to go back and see what it’s upto and find out where it’s been. Does anyone know anything about it please? You’ll have to be based in an Essex seaside town to know if it’s current ownership but if you know anything else or even have photos of your own 814 then please let us see them on what ever social media platform you prefer or email me; ben@truckblog.co.uk

Irish Flyer – Empty

Off the boat 1750hrs.

Empty Parnell Park, Dundalk – 1920hrs.

Job done then! A good days work done by us all, Marshy was just the chauffeur but we were all there for the ride and supporting role. So empty back to Dublin and back in the dock and all the boats are buggered due to the weather. Looks like Marshy may have an early night or even a lazy Sunday morning. Currently number 2 on the waiting list for the 0810hrs sailing back to Holyhead. Anyone else had just as a productive day?? Well done Marshy, a mother quality example of proper service by a proper good old boy. If you need service then Steve Marsh Express is your man!

Irish Flyer – Off The Boat!

Arrived in Dublin and off into the Irish darkness. At this time of day in Dublin I’m guessing it’s only an hour or so up to Dundalk, according to Google maps it says 56 miles, depending on final delivery address. I am assuming that Marshy will resist the urge for a pint of Guiness at least until he is empty. My thoughts at this stage would be; “Is someone going to be there?” – We’ve all been there, it’s all organised driver, just turn up and they will get you tipped. Well seeing as he’s had a good day so far, let’s all keep our fingers crossed 🤞🏻

Irish Flyer – Check In

Arrived at Morrison’s Holyhead – 1150hrs.

Arrived at Port and checked in the lanes – 1230hrs.

For those outside the UK you can see Leeds in the East, the journey takes you across the infamous M62 to Manchester, round the M60 (Manchester’s version of the M25), then carry on West on the M56 and then onto another of my favourite roads, the A55 which literally runs all the way along the North Wales coast into Holyhead. The 248 miles is how far away I am from Marshy as it’s a WhatsApp location map!

From Holyhead it’s about 3hrs 15mins across the Irish Sea to Dublin, then north to Dundalk which you can also see on the map, on the border between the north and south. Having checked in, GB14 STE will be sailing on the nearly new WB Yeats, a new ship to Irish Ferries which I think will eventually be based on the Ireland France route but is covering the Holyhead Dublin while one of the other older ships gets a refurb. Unless anyone has a quick reload on Saturday evening from Dundalk, the airport or Dublin, Marshy is hoping to get back to Dublin port if he can this evening. Next instalment will come once arrived in Dublin.

Irish Flyer

The challenge is on. Same day Dundalk on a Saturday, loading Leeds. Our man Steve Marsh of the Express fame has just loaded and left on a fresh card from Leeds at 0840hrs. Marshy is the number 1 member of the #littlebigcabclub and it is his little MAN TGL 12 tonner cartoonised on the above tshirts. The tshirts are for sale by the way, message me for details if you want one. Now loaded Marshy is heading west for the 1410hrs sailing from Holyhead on Irish Ferries. Hopefully another update when he arrives at port. By the way, when we say he’s loaded…….