Similar stories exist regarding the TNT service that ran between Melbourne & Sydney.
The TNT Mel - Sydney TNT Serices services eventually came unstuck after a pair of 45s on the northbound train stuck on Bethungra spiral, supposedly with 75% load (to which, from memory, the TNT train was limited). As the train was a guaranteed train, it was regarded as just as important as Southern Aurora. Questions had been asked for some time preceeding the incident as to why the service was frequently late into Cooks River in the morning. There was a penalty clause in the contract and it was costing at the time. Quite a few drivers had received bungs [management blasts, on paper] over late running as well over a period prior to the stick up. This precipitated the stories by numerous drivers that the train was frequently overloaded but no
one would listen, until they weighed the offending train I believe in Goulburn. Needless to say, it was grossly overloaded. 45s were good at slogging it out on the hills but not quite that good! An old acquantance at Alltrans TNT in Sydney in those days remembered that they had to be a bit more carefull after that with their weights. But they frequently put overloaded flexivans and jumbo containers on the trains and got away with it, as no one weighed them before they were loaded on the trains, and you never got weighed driving around the cities at either end. Of course they would have been too heavy to haul by road back in the
late 1960s / early 70s! You would never have got past a highway weighbridge or the scalies. That aside, it allowed TNT Alltrans to offer a very reliable overnight freight service between Syney and Melbourne and gave them quite a market advantage in those days. Back then, overnighting from Melbourne to Sydney was a brave man's drive on the old Hume. Mind you plenty did it up and down Sesame Street every night. I did it once, and only once, never again!
I pulled an Alltrans Flexi Van once (~1969) from Clapham to Arnotts in Milton. If I had been weighed by the scalies, I would have been put off the road! They must have got away with millions doing what they were doing back then. I always remembered that particular trip not only because of the weight but what it was doing to the springs on my single drive prime mover. Mechanically, the flexivan bogies weren't particularly well looked after and I remember being rather carefull
going down Dutton Park hill! Truck driving was fun back then! Trips like that developed your skills and were called building experience - tell that one to a modern day safety manager!
If you saw what the base loading was in the QLXs you would understand the weight in the wagons, wagon after wagon floor covered with beer on pallets with small freight loaded in on top.
...Rodders ol' mate.....this is a monumental gut spill and i'm amazed at the information you are prepared to divulge.....a good cleansing does well for the spirit (of progress ;D ;D)
...there will be a stack of old truckies on this forum fuming and punching the keyboard at all the rotten rorting, graft, political shenanigans and interference that caused so many truckies...so much grief...
...if i'm wrong in reading what you're telling, please excuse me, but this whole episode of the rail verses road, just to me, had been elevated to a higher level of dodgy doings.....cheers ol' mate
Worst part about on the Adel-Melb run was the continual 'surveys' done at the Keith & Murray Bridge (in them days) weighbridges.
I used to love some of the questions & answers that were given...
What have you got on today driver?
Where did you load it driver?
Where is it bound for?
Are you being paid per ton or per (23t) load?
A couple of those that were truthful with their answers found their freight suddenly drying up.........
So what answer did you give for "what freight driver?"
At the moment, everyone with something to contribute has done so already. I will have an article or two to scan, but not today: I try to rotate around threads within HCVC, and around groups covering various modes.
There were varying degrees of truck-train cooperation in the era before full containerisation took over. Trucks for city collection/distribution; railways for long-distance line haul.
One early one was the flexivan, mentioned by one of the posters: a semitrailer body which could slide onto a purpose-built wagon.
Palletisation became widespread, with forklift loading. Traditional railway vans evolved into wide-door and curtainside variants to facilitate this.
Tofc (trailer on flat car, USA lingo) didn't gain momentum in Australia, because of restricted loading gauge. It did across the Nullarbor, and still does on Bass Strait ferries (only the trailer goes).
Roadrailer has a restricted application in Australia (a semitrailer body with both road and rail wheels).
Way before international shipping containers, railways had small containers for a range of products, designed for easy transhipment at Albury.
Australia embraced interntational containers, but forwarding agents also pushed a larger design which could take two Australian standard pallets abreast. The article which I expect to find shows Mayne Nickless rather than TNT.
I am impressed by the effort to cover a full TNT history, worldwide. Just the Abeles era at Ansett could be a book in its own right (and probably has been).
I started working for QRX in 1978.
Learnt to drive a Semi there. COE Kenworth. Then an SAR.
Left there in 1983 ( Sadly )
It was one of the best places I have worked, the Jackson Bros were fantastic bosses.
It was refreshing to find this post from Google. A lot of memories came back. Thank You.
Hi NeilG. If you are interested I can send you some photos and documents related to QRX and the other Jackson family
companies. Just get in touch with me through the E-Mail address appearing on the website of the book I wrote with Darren Hingston.