Updated 28th July.

If you are unable to login, you probably need to read this change to your username & profile.


Welcome, Guest
Username: Password: Remember me

TOPIC: Shuttles and Relays

Shuttles and Relays 19 Jun 2020 11:41 #211617

  • Dave_64
  • Dave_64's Avatar Topic Author
  • Offline
  • Posts: 2472
  • Thank you received: 274
Got to thinking about that old Mayne Nickless house at Tumblong NSW, which was their change over point on the Syd-Melb run.
Don't know about any of the other states (with the possible exception of Nhill Vic) which became the standard handover place.
Lots of companies have utilised the relay/shuttle concept over the years, Maynes stayed at Glen Innes in a couple of different guises, Railex, Jetspress. Ansett had drivers living there, their blokes put up at a motel. Ipec of course had the well set up changeover depot on the edge of town, (G.I.) TNT overnight used the Bendemeer servo on the Nth/Sth run, also on the Syd-Adel run used both Yass and Ouyen.
You could probably name heaps of companies that did the relay/shuttle/changeovers successfully.
Just going back to the days of the long distance stuff, the two driver principle was also successfully used.
Syd-Perth and Syd-Adel most notably were "two up" for quite a few of the Major companies, Antill-Ranger (later to morph into Mayne Nicks) was one that comes to mind. Express Freight another.
Just goes to show how far we have come with huge HP, better roads (?) etc. Syd-Bris via the Pacific is one that comes to mind easily, doesn't seem all that long ago it was a two day trip one out.Even up the New England with a relay /shuttle still a 14-15 hr trip, now they are knocking it over legally one driver in under 12 hrs. Don't even want to guess what they are allowing for Syd-Melb with a changeover thrown in, 9-10 hrs? Must mean Melb-Adel with changeover at Nhill around 8hrs? Do one every night of the week legally and not even get into overtime!
Trip and overhead cameras seem to have made a huge inroad into the old days of blokes backtracking and "doing a dodge: to thwart the authorities, along with massive fines if you are sprung.
The major companies seemed to either put their blokes up at motels, or they actually owned houses, or had full facility depots like Ipec's.
There had been many attempts to get transport set up over the years with trucks being turned around within a short space of time, rather than have them sitting idle in the yard until their next scheduled departure,
Ansett semmed to have it down pat, if you stood on the side of the Hume at any given time, you could almost set your clock, one an hour , every hour. Must have had the freight to do it, a lot of people will say that half the time they ran light or almost empty just to keep the schedules going. Still had to have something in the trailer even if only to be paying the fuel bill and drivers wages.
Not all that long ago, 4 or 5 major companies controlled about 90% of the freight volumes in Oz, (well documented how M.N and TNT got into strife for "transport rate fixing"), so probably had enough freight and customers at call to keep schedules.
Maynes tried a system for a while which seemed to work out where they would have a trailer (or pan) pre loaded with non-urgent general freight loaded the night before. Say the express driver coming in from Syd would arrive at 6.00 am to the Melb depot, he would have come straight through. He fuelled the truck, washed the screen, shot through to the motel for the day. The incoming fresh driver would jump in the same truck, do a Tarcutta changeover return to the Melb depot where the freight would either be unloaded by a night shift or delivered the next working day. That changeover driver would repeat the fuel,screen clean and go home. Driver who had been at the motel all day would come in and when loaded, take the express back to Syd straight through.
Worked great, weekends and all, whilst there was freight available. Once freight started to get a bit scarce (competition from other carriers mostly), the daylight changeovers were dropped.
There were probably many variations of this theme tried over the years.
Worked with one bloke who had done a spell with Jack Seaton when he used to run the shuttle, in those black cab overs. Used to have a board on the back of the trailer, "Seatons-powered by Caterpillar". Maybe the old 1673 250's??
Used to have some sort of complicated 3 driver set up with quick hitches at the depots.Two Syd drivers leave two up for Melb, share the driving. Get to Melb, quick hitch, one Syd driver out, fresh driver in for returh to Syd, so by time truck returned to Syd, always one driver being replaced with a fresh driver, kept going around the clock, engine never really got cold. Other than routine maintenance and/or breakdowns truck on the move. (Just on that, was told thats why Ansett got such a good run (?) out of the Deutz trucks, never got cold), but have heard others say they were continually blowing the sealing gaskets between the barrells and the blocks. Never had anything to do with them so can't comment.
Another mob, may have been Clalmers ??, someone around that era, used to run the triangles, Syd-Melb-Adel-Syd OR Syd-Melb-Bris-Syd, had blokes held over in Parkes. Had a few problems with drivers I heard, this one couldn't get on with that one, this one couldn't sleep whilst that one was at the wheel etc etc.
Wandered off the point a bit, as I said, quite a few of the companies had either accommodation of some sort in some town or owned houses (or leased them anyway) just for drivers uses.
Wonder how many persevere with it these days? Another bloke I knew worked for Tolls on the Melb-Bris run, used to do the Melb-Parkes run, changeover and stay until leagal and then come home. Reckoned that couldn't make any money because the authorities had virtually cut it back so far he may as well work inthe depot 7 hours a day! Besides that, away half the week and spending money at Parkes(didn't say what on, though).
Just thought I would throw it out there and see what comments it elicits.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Rattail 1927

Please Log in to join the conversation.

Shuttles and Relays 19 Jun 2020 16:52 #211632

  • JOHN.K.
  • JOHN.K.'s Avatar
  • Offline
  • Posts: 1702
  • Thank you received: 362
trouble with company drivers is the companies had to actually pay them wages and overtime and allowances .......when the way they made their money was by screwing subbies,who they didnt actually have to pay at all if they didnt feel like it.......Add that to mates rates from the railways for the biggies ,for the cost of bit of graft ,and thats where the money in transport is.......I wonder what the ghosts of Peter Abeles ,Nev Wran ,Robert Askin ,(no more names ,many still alive) would have said about a ICAC?

Please Log in to join the conversation.

Shuttles and Relays 19 Jun 2020 22:08 #211649

  • cobbadog
  • cobbadog's Avatar
  • Offline
  • Posts: 1293
  • Thank you received: 570
My neighbour is doing a 2 up at the moment and should be back home tomorrow. He left here near Taree last Sunday afternoon to Sydney then chucked a 'uey' and went to Brisbane then went 2 up from there north and across to Darwin then down the coast to almost the W.A. border to a remote place drop the load and back empty to Brisbane. I bet he sleeps well once home.
Cheers Cobba & Cobbarette
Coopernook, The Centre of our Universe.

Please Log in to join the conversation.

Shuttles and Relays 20 Jun 2020 20:19 #211699

  • PaulFH
  • PaulFH's Avatar
  • Offline
  • Posts: 404
  • Thank you received: 387
Was fortunate to start with one of the Melbourne Horse transport companies in late 1979.
Business was expanding and were having semi floats built, so needed drivers with that licence
and stock handling ability. Most of the interstate trips were done 2 up. Allowed the truck to turn
round quicker and service more clients away from the highway, within driving hours.
Melbourne to Sydney return, could be off the Hume via places like Ballan, Wagga, Cootamundra,
Boorowa and Canbera to name a few. In the office, two inches on a map was nothing!
Also a way to give new drivers a chance to see where different studs, trainers and horse places were.

Got on well with most of the guys shared trips with. One older chap never had no log book so had to
compensate for that. Found out returning from Sydney, he presented my book at Marulan, which
was signed off from driving to sleeper, and I was asleep. Luckily they let him go with a warning.
Another trip through Forbes to the upper Hunter, he missed a turn on the Newell and he woke me
up near Temora. Sorry mate, was daydreaming about the girlfriend. No worries, back on track at
Wyalong. He was down on his luck so no sense making a fuss. Ended up doing day work mostly.
Another guy was the likable rogue. Planned his sleep times cunningly. Go to sleep on the last leg
of the trip so on your own for all the drop offs, and also back at the depot to wash the truck out.
The boss was on to him, couldn't wake him so got one of the local trainer's wives to get up into the
bunk with him and start cuddling up. Moaned and groaned until eventually waking in shock.

Occasionally did Adelaide or Sydney one out. Funny pay scales as John K mentioned.
Pay was less for one out than per driver for 2 up. Asked but assured it was correct.

Worked well on longer trips to Brisbane or the Hunter area. Depending on pick ups, Brisbane took
22 to 24 hours and the Hunter 14 to 16. Overnighters were supposed to be doing Brisbane in 18
hours but a bit quick for horses. Horses have to come off at the border coming out of Queensland
to be sprayed for tick. Much easier with two drivers to do all that.

Eight years later doing the same work one out. Price cutting and rising costs the usual causes.
Much more stress, had to stable horses at key places for rest and many times way over driving
hours. Luckily only fined once. Would not care to take the job on now.
Told one NSW Police Officer that a log book was of no value to an honest person. He wanted
to know what I meant, asked him to just think about it!
The following user(s) said Thank You: Dave_64, husky, oliver1950

Please Log in to join the conversation.

Shuttles and Relays 20 Jun 2020 21:30 #211700

  • Dave_64
  • Dave_64's Avatar Topic Author
  • Offline
  • Posts: 2472
  • Thank you received: 274
Heard a good yarn from a bloke I worked with quite a few years ago. Never had a go at the two-up myself, but this bloke told me the story of him and another driver doing the one of the triangles, both Sydney boys, leave Sunday morning, quick hitch in Melb, head off for Brisbane with freezer van. One of the drivers, we'll call him Disco, was a bit of a terror for the women, talks his mate into letting him drive the bottom leg of the Newell and dropping him off at Gilgandra. Seems he knew a lady school teacher there, tells his co-driver that if he does the upper leg to Brissy, and then comes down the New England, he'll meet him at Glen Innes on the Tues night/ Wed morning, and then he the pantsman, will "do the rest of the driving to Sydney". This was way before any mobile phones, used to have to ring the depots and report in. Old mate thinks he's doing the right thing, reluctantly agrees, goes into the Brissy depot and quick hitches, fuels up and starts heading South. So far so good until he arrives in Glen, no partner! Due in Sydney ASP the next day, waits an hour, still no partner turns up, has that hour over the wheel, not game to get in the bed, might not wake up. Awoken with someone banging on the door, has a look out, one of Ansetts drivers standing there says to him that he is passing along a message from Disco, keep going, meet you at the motel in Tamworth. Driver a bit worried, book way out, if they are checking books down the track, he's in deep doo-doo. Gets into Tamworth, now he's getting really worried. No Disco! Panic stations are rapidly approaching. No way is he going to get through Berowra checking station, be lucky to even get through Singleton Heights and company wont let drivers run the Putty. Knows that this will just about cost him his job, this was one of the major carriers, resigns himself to the fact that he is going to blow a pretty cruisy job. Holden panel van plastered with the company logo pulls up, one of the "outriders", blokes who were on the roads a lot keeping an eye on the company gear , keeping in good with the law, etc. "You waiting for this bloke?", he nods at a thoroughly dishevelled Disco, bits of skin and fur missing, bloodied face, uniform half torn off. " Get him outta here, already dressed him down for bluing with the locals" I will want to speak to you two tomorrow in Sydney!" So, they choof off, rest of trip uneventful, lob into the depot. Old mate asks Disco what happened? "Didn't know that she had a boyfriend and the boyfriend was a bloody copper!" Both sweating bricks expecting the "pink slip" when the outrider comes in, told to go home, both said thet were supposed to wait there for said outrider, Allocater tells them, "May be waiting a while, he's gone down Bargo way to a rollover!" Never heard any more about it, old mate refused to do two up with Disco after that. As I said, cant vouch for the veracity of the story, but made a good yarn.
The following user(s) said Thank You: PaulFH

Please Log in to join the conversation.

Shuttles and Relays 21 Jun 2020 20:57 #211728

  • PaulFH
  • PaulFH's Avatar
  • Offline
  • Posts: 404
  • Thank you received: 387
To continue, found out the other drivers were reluctant to do interstate and be away from home when pay was
just as good doing country race meetings with the overtime. Leading driver had to do Brisbane one out as no one
wanted to go away. He was on leave when I started, so did a few trips with the road manager in that time.
Turned up for a trip with the leading driver when he returned from leave. Seemed a bit grumpy at first, but when
he saw my black and white towel his eyes lit up. We got on well, the start of a forty year friendship. Gave a good
report to the boss on return. Quite a few trips together and learnt a lot from him about the industry.

As new semi floats were on order, new drivers were employed. We were split up and did trips with the new blokes.
Could only sleep lightly until they found their way around, as I had to do. The leading driver was less tolerant, and
would burst into the office on return from a trying trip and yell " Why can't Paul and I do a trip together for once "?
They'd agree and off we'd go. Those days could enjoy a beer at the right time and relax a bit.
One trip unloaded brood mares in the Upper Hunter early morning, then empty up to Brisbane for the return load.
Stopped at Tenterfield for a counter lunch, freezing cold. Ordered the meals and on the second schooner when we
noticed most of the bar staring at us. Took a while, but saw they were all drinking rum. Out of place!

There some months, driving a rigid 9 horse float built on a Scania bus chassis. Ran heavy on the steer, and on both
axles if fully loaded with big horses. Limited to 90 k's via a tachograph to avoid blowing a steer tyre. Only legal
with 3 horses in the rear compartment, 2 in the centre and none up front. Ran on a temporary permit so had to
watch where you went. Did 7 Sydney trips in 3 weeks, before, during and after the Easter horse sales, racing
carnival and show. Each with a different driver, including the mechanic. Boss happy, so given a pay rise and
promised a new semi unit. Total change in attitude with the new group of drivers, most happy to go on a trip.

Enjoyed that period of employment, good lot of blokes and modern trucks. Worth the effort.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Dave_64, husky, oliver1950

Please Log in to join the conversation.

Shuttles and Relays 22 Jun 2020 12:20 #211736

  • Stretch
  • Stretch's Avatar
  • Offline
  • Posts: 12
  • Thank you received: 10
Just my 2 bobs worth. Many moons ago I drove for Kwikasair. In the days of Ford Thames (Sputniks). 5 Series Dodges, Leyland Comets and Mustangs. Drove Melbourne to Wodonga, Zebra Motel, about 4 hours. Handed truck to Sydney driver and slept? 4 hours until another truck arrived from Sydney. Brought it to Melbourne. About 4 hours. Sydney driver waited at Motel until I returned. About 20 long hours!! I heard there was some female companionship available to fill in time!! Didn't always go to plan what with breakdowns. accidents and shortage of freight.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Dave_64, PaulFH

Please Log in to join the conversation.

Shuttles and Relays 22 Jun 2020 19:40 #211741

  • wee-allis
  • wee-allis's Avatar
  • Offline
  • Posts: 610
  • Thank you received: 303
I remember back in the '50s and '60s, Ansett used to do a change over at a motel in Nambucca Heads. In the days of the Deutz Jupiters and Flexibles Clippers. My old man used to do any urgent repairs needed on them, anywhere within 50 miles.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Dave_64, PaulFH

Please Log in to join the conversation.

Shuttles and Relays 22 Jun 2020 20:14 #211744

  • allan
  • allan's Avatar
  • Offline
  • Posts: 361
  • Thank you received: 41
My late father used to do interstate for Ansett early 50s and I thought he talked of a changeover at Gundagai? So he never got to Sydney - Melb-Gun and rest (I think motel) for 8 hrs then pick up incoming from Sydney and back to Melb.
The following user(s) said Thank You: PaulFH

Please Log in to join the conversation.

Shuttles and Relays 22 Jun 2020 20:29 #211745

  • Dave_64
  • Dave_64's Avatar Topic Author
  • Offline
  • Posts: 2472
  • Thank you received: 274
That sounds quite likely, Allen. The coach drivers were still doing changeovers at Gundagai in the early seventies at least. Well before the by pass was ever opened.

Please Log in to join the conversation.

Time to create page: 0.457 seconds

Historic Commercial Vehicles Club of Australia Inc.  Post: P.O. Box 2020 Bayswater Vic. 3153    Clubrooms: Unit 8 / 4  Macquarie Place Boronia    Club Phone: 0400 025 525    Club Rooms:  03) 9738 1558