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1906 Trentham Road
BRIEF HISTORY OF ROAD TRAINS IN AUSTRALIA
BY IAN LEE
Kurt Johannson’s Diamond T snakes its way across a creek bed with its procession of self tracking trailers loaded with empty fuel drums, there was a shortage after WW11 down south so surplus drums left over from the war effort were reused.
In this period there were no laws regarding length and up to 8 trailers was not uncommon
Vestey Rotinoff with one of two Rotinoff Viscount road trains imported from England in 1957, they were called Jackie and Julie. They were powered by 250hp Rolls Royce C6SFL six cylinder supercharged engines of 710lb/ft torque with 6 speed synchronised overdrive gearbox and 3 speed auxiliary with Kirkstall rub-reduction bogie diffs of 10.18:1 giving a top speed with double overdrive of 75km per hour. They did have gear box, differential and tail shaft problems.
Aerial view of a Rotinoff Viscount Cattle Road Train with three trailers a total of 200ft 61m long.
The first B Model Mack in the Northern Territory was the B6IT acquired by outback transport in 1959 and the start of the dominance of American built trucks for road train operators.
Bunting Roadway B Series Mack crossing a small creek. The second trailer is just in view as it follows the twisting track. With these type of conditions a long wheel base tray truck (called a body truck in the north) was the best way to get traction as in the photo all the weight fell back onto the drive often in poor conditions the trailers were towed separately through bad sections. Then reassembled back into a road train. Today with better roads this system is no longer common and most road trains are semi trailers pulling two or three trailers.
Barry Clough’s B61 Restored Buntine Road Train.
Prime Mover – “The Power & The Glory”
On display at the Transport Reunion 2005.
It was common with most road train operators to call each truck by a name and not a number, which helped reduce any confusion on which truck was which.
Peter McCleverty’s Restored B615
One of the largest operators of Mack Trucks in Queensland was Western Transport who operated road trains across the north carrying all type of freight.
B Mack carting general freight. This set up was common on remote sections, transporting goods from the eastern states to the west where large sections of roads were unmade up until recent time.
Typical modern cattle train in the red centre today