Just going through some old posts here and came across Paul FH mention of working for TNT country express.
Wasn't it them who used to run that KW rigid, an S2 with a huge body on it?
Remember seeing it do the Nth Coast run out of Sydney for a while, up the Pacific, or maybe did the Castle and then shot across to Tamworth?
Wonder whatever happened to it?
Maybe our resident TNT historian Werkhorse may know?
Hi Dave_64 That KW S2 rigid was at Comet it used to run to Grafton , & had the reputation of one of the fastest trucks running the Nth Coast .When I started with Comet it was retired & doing local only I drove it Many times & it still went well, It had an 6v71 with a 13 overdrive in the late eighties & early nineties it had a lot of trouble with the crowbars & I don't think TNT workshops wanted to spend any money on it , it was sold when Comet & Kwikasair Combined in the nineties & moved to Cosgrove rd Enfield. The last report it was on furniture removable in Qld
"That KW S2 rigid was at Comet it used to run to Grafton , & had the reputation of one of the fastest trucks running the Nth Coast "
Which brings up another side topic, which whenever a few old drivers get together over a few quarts of the amber fluid, seems to grow legs as the day (or night) wears on.
That's, ".......back in the day, I remember so and so had a quick one, used to do the Putty in such and such..........." OR, used to do the Yass changeover so quick that he was already half way back before his oppo was still kicking tyres!"
Had seen some VERY quick trucks , "back in the day", a certain Tramcar with 13 speed/4.11's with a screamer doing about 2300 rpm used to boogie along alright. But, I started thinking about just how quick some of those rigids were, sometimes company trucks, more often subbies who were doing the overnight " rockets" for the major companies. Been well documented here as well as other forums, the days of the Dodge and Inter paper trucks, market trucks, the days of the "sputniks" the "ghosts", all well and truly gone now, sadly with quite a few of their drivers.
Anyone who grew up around the time of the introduction of the overnight "rockets", rigids which were "last out, first home" can attest here. And I don't mean only on the major interstate highways. Got that way of course that articulated trucks were almost as quick, so I suppose that sounded the end of them in a way.
Some of the speeds/times they were running back then, was not only astounding, it was downright frightening! Your wandering along flat stick at your 6omph (100kph) thinking your making a mile and one of these 6 or 8 wheelers (or even twin steer /single drive were popular there for a while) and cop a flash of light in the mirror, next minute your being blasted sideways towards the tabledrain (well, almost), see the cabin light come on with a poo eating grin, often a set of golf clubs taking up the passenger seat, (have to have something to keep you occupied when you get to your changeover point). By the time you check the knickers for lumps, he's gone!
Keeping up the drivers must have been an issue also, nothing for a bloke to have 3 addresses in 3 states with 3 different licenses, as well as the mandatory 3 log books, do a stretch in one state, either run the opposite direction or simply change addresses!
Federal licensing curbed a lot of that, no glee getting put on the computer and discovering you have half a dozen clones working for the same mob! And also came the speed cameras, along with stricter patrols of back roads to avoid them, took the fun right out of it!
Insurance must have been a bugger for some as well, although even some of the companies carried their own, or were in with some of the bigger insurers at some stage. The bloke who had two or three trucks doing the "rockets" was not exactly a long term prospect for superannuation either. We can all probably talk of a "mate", or perhaps it was even yourself, who was handed an envelope with a few quid in cash, a few "extras" added, legged into one of these "racing cars" at 10 0clock at night to be in the next state capital at 5 the next morning! Was certainly a different scenario, especially with the roads/goat tracks we had to contend with.
Bloke who I knew some time ago, went to Canada under contract doing the grain season. Big thing going back a few years, Oz and NZ were the recruiting grounds, they seemed to reckon that blokes from over this way at least had a bit of an idea as to how to get yourself out of trouble with a handful of tools. Even if the toolbox consisted of a screwdriver, shifting spanner and a bottle of Green Ginger Wine! But, as usual, I digress!
This ex Canadian grain carter stayed over that way for another six months, reckoned it was a good chance to have a bit of a look around and see how the others did it. Said that he couldn't believe what opened his eyes at the time. Huge HP, a "four and a quarter" Cat was commonplace, geared up with ridiculously fast diffs and running on 24" wheels. All depot to depot and the roads! Superhighways! When he came back I worked with him for a while. Had this other mate of his over for a holiday from the States, breaking his neck to see how we did it over here. Signed an indemnity form with the boss and got the OK to go as far as Yass, do the change over and come back. Back in the days of Paddy's River, Penrose, the Cullerins etc, most still single lane with a few passing lanes here and there. Got out at Yass and said he would rather get the mail train home! Scared you-know-what out of him!
I asked this ex grain carter why, said even though they had trucks that could and did get up and boogie Stateside, it was on super highways. "You guys have got to have no brains whatever to do the speeds your doing, on roads that an Amish wouldn't let his horse get out of a dog trot, on!", he was told as the passenger door slammed!
I am sure there's quite a few of you blokes who can identify with this, maybe you wrestled a few of them up and down the "goat tracks", or new someone who did. Remember, no names, no pack-drill!