Monthly Archive: July 2015

Hartlepool United fans love the new strip

Football supporters gave a big thumbs up when the new strip hit the shelves this morning. Fans were outside the Hartlepool United club shop for it opening at 9am today to get their hands on the new home strip. Early birds were also able to meet two of the star players, Ebby Nelson-Addy and Rakish Bingham, who were on hand to sign autographs and have photographs taken with the fans. In a move away from the traditional white and pale blue stripes, the new shirt is a brighter blue with a blaze of white across the front. And, fans and players both were giving it the thumbs up. Rakish said: We really like the new shirt. It has a nicer feel to it and is a bit different. Ebby said it was great to be there for the launch of the new shirt to the supporters. He said: We love doing things like this, it is always great to meet the fans. First in line was nine-year-old fan Evan Newbegin who came along from Seaton with his nana Carole to be the very first to try on the new royal blue kit for size. He s been so excited to get the new shirt he s been up since 6.30 this morning. said Carole. Evan said: It s my favourite Pools shirt and I really wanted to get one as soon as I saw it. I am going on a cruise to Norway with my family soon and I can t wait to wear it abroad and show my colours. Birthday girl, Naomi Franks, was one of the first in the queue to buy her shirt as she celebrated turning 10. The young season ticket holder from Clavering, who was there with dad Terry, 51, and big sister, Sam, 14. She said: I just wanted to be here early so I could have the strip on my birthday. Andrea Smith, 40, from Kesteven Road, was also on site at the club shop early with her three sons, Jake, 12, Adam, 10 and six-year-old Oliver. The mum, who was buying a top for Adam s upcoming birthday, said: They wanted to come down early. I like the strip it s nicer than the old one. Fan and shop assistant, Dorothy Evans, said: There were a few people queuing when we came to open up at 8.45am and we had more than 200 of the strips pre-ordered for people to collect today. Fans want to get their early because of their passion for the club. Kevin Durham, a 30-year-old forklife truck driver from the King Oswy area, was one of the first at the shop with his children, Reece, eight, Kai, four and two-year-old Jessica. He said: We wanted to get the strips and meet the players. Reece said: I like the pattern of the new strip. I like the shade of blue. Daniel Liddle, 13, from West Park, said: I wanted to be one of the first in the line to get the new strip and to meet the players. Both he and his dad, Adrian Liddle, who runs Atkinson Printers, gave their approval to the new strip and said it was good to have something a bit different. Pools are set to wear the new home kit for the first time during Saturday s pre-season friendly against Chesterfield at Victoria Park. – More Middle-East Trucking memories on …

Now here’s a trip down Middle-East memory lane courtesy of Gary Richards at Mack Australia. I certainly recall the HG Brown rigs which were liveried (if my memory doesn’t deceive me) in aqua-marine with red stripes and pulled yellow TIR tilts. Pity the shot isn’t in colour…has anyone got any?

Meanwhile Gazza says: “Another wet summer day caused me to have a tidy up in my Mack archives – and found a few vintage pictures and articles (from the company’s Bulldog mag) on Macks doing their Euro thing in the ’60s and ’70s. The article in Builldog said: “An Allentown-built F786 was placed into regular service to the Middle East by HG Brown & Son. It is believed to be the first modern Mack to enter service with a UK operator.

It was sold by Roadstone, an Irish Mack dealer. The truck does a 3,500miles 10 days route to Pakistan…” Pakistan? Wow that would have been a long-run.

Now read on! Gary adds: “This Spanish (?) B61 seems to belong to Perez Torres (taken in Barcelona) – looks like a Pegaso parked behind.” “And last but not least….400 Mack F711s !! (Bulldog Q2 1976 mag ad) seems to be an huge Iranian-based transport operation. Mack F models and Iran seems to make perfect sense !!

So here’s a good question to the BLB army …who was the Iran-Europe Carrier Company? Enjoy…Gary.” A good question indeed….so who knows the answer? Meanwhile, a gentle reminder (if you haven’t already done it) to all in my beloved anorak army..Don’t forget to fill out the Biglorryblog reader survey and tell me what think about BLB–and if you do so you could win 500 in a special prize draw.

All you have to do is click on this link : However, it will only run until March 26th so don’t hang around if you want to be in with a chance of winning the 500.

And for everyone that does complete the survey, thanks for helping us make your favourite trucking blog even better! ‘); // just to prevent the ad overlapping in the next p } document.write(‘ ‘ + ‘ipt> ‘); (function(it) it.after($(‘.jq-advert’)); )($(this)); } }); // var paragraph_count = document.getElementById(“jq-mpu”).innerHTML.match(/(|||)/g).length; //if (paragraph_count > = 1) // var secondParagraph = document.getElementById(“jq-mpu”).getElementsByTagName(“p”).length; // alert(secondParagraph); // var adDiv = document.createElement(‘div’); // adDiv.className = ‘jq-advert’; // adDiv.innerHTML = ” + ‘ipt> ‘; //document.getElementById(“jq-mpu”).appendChild(adDiv); //document.write(‘ ‘+’ipt> ‘); // – Middle East trucking returns to Biglorryblog …

It’s been coming a long time, (and undoubtedly been a labour of love), but Ashley ‘The Crane King’ Coghill tells me that his long-awaited book on Astran, the iconic Middle East operator, will finally be publsihed in June and if you click through here you can find out how to get an early copy click of it (you’ll also find a couple a great bits of Astran nostalgia too…ooh I do spoil you lot.) Both these ‘;flyers’ have been saved in ‘Expando-Vision’ so if you need to see them bigger just click on them. Of course no story about Astran would be complete without Biglorryblog slipping in this shot of Carl Jarman’s immaculately-restored Scania 141…. And to finish….how about this classic Scania ad too featuring Astran. (Sorry but I can’t remember who sent it to me but thanks anyway…) And to see a bigger version of this click on it too.

It only remains to wish Ashley all the best with his book.

I am sure there wil be plenty of takers for it, given the interest in the pioneers of Middle East trucking. ‘); // just to prevent the ad overlapping in the next p } document.write(‘ ‘ + ‘ipt> ‘); (function(it) it.after($(‘.jq-advert’)); )($(this)); } }); // var paragraph_count = document.getElementById(“jq-mpu”).innerHTML.match(/(|||)/g).length; //if (paragraph_count > = 1) // var secondParagraph = document.getElementById(“jq-mpu”).getElementsByTagName(“p”).length; // alert(secondParagraph); // var adDiv = document.createElement(‘div’); // adDiv.className = ‘jq-advert’; // adDiv.innerHTML = ” + ‘ipt> ‘; //document.getElementById(“jq-mpu”).appendChild(adDiv); //document.write(‘ ‘+’ipt> ‘); // – Driving a big Caterpillar 777F dump truck …

UPDATE: You can watch the video of the Cat 777F here. Yes I know thws is pure self-indulgence on the part of Biglorryblog. But what’s the point of having power if you’re not prepared to abuse it every now and again?

And if that includes blagging a drive of a 1,031hp, 160-tonne, 60cum CAT 777F off-road dump truck like this at CAT’s fantastic Malaga demo site then why not? The Malaga site covers 90 hectares and has just about every piece of CAT construction, mining and quarrying equipment that you’d ever want to have a go with. And just for your information this shows the triple seven F yomping up a 27% gradient without a murmur of protest from its V12.

The picture above neatly shows you how big it is compared with your average peugeot Partner car-derived van. In fact you could drive over it and feel no more than as if you’d gone over a speed bump! The man on the dump truck is CAT’s dump truck application specialist Blair Milne a really great bloke who taught me to drive it.

Of course, first you’ve got to get into the cab which means climbing on the thing first, via this ladder (the first part is a bit like climbing up a big Renault Magnum), then it’s up the staircase to the right to the top landing and into the cab (taking care not to clobber your bonce on the scow body which extends over the cab…that’s why you wear a hard hat!) And this is the cab itself, it’s rather nice and wouldn’t disgrace your average 7.5-tonner. The main driving seat is in the centre, the smaller seat is for the driver trainer (presumably because it’s the closest to the door and a quick escape!). The two bumps just above the steering wheel are the air intakes for the air filters (that’s the ‘bonnet’ in between you and the far side of the dumper).

And here’s the view the driver sees of the dash–the red foot pedal on the far left is the ’emergency brake’ “You won’t need that” says Blair reassuring me. Indeed the CAT 777F has no less than four braking systems including an emergency oil-activated spring brake system that comes on if you lose oil pressure (for example if you stall the engine). After all you wouldn’t want to freewheel down a hill with 160 tonnes would you?

The left hand lever is the auto box selector (I didn’t realise that CAT made their own transmissions and retarders as well as engines) the one on the right is for the tipping gear. Switches on? Contact?

BLB checks his mirrors and we’re off. And just in case you’re wondering WHY I’m driving a triple seven F it’s for the Truck & Driver Christmas issue.A quick turn of the key and the CAT engine roars into life before settling down to a throaty burble.There s no separate park brake as such: It s all built into the auto box. So with one foot on the brake pedal we select drive, and release the footbrake and start creeping foward.

And this is the view from the cab! Gingerly touching the throttle we pull out of the marshalling area and start climbing into the test track proper, the autobox gear changes are dictated by road speed so you ve got to get to over 2,100 rpm or so before the box hops up a cog, on some of the hills we climb up steadily in second then as we crest the ride the box quickly skips up to 3, 4, 5,6 and 7. The steering is astonishing—it s so light you can spin the wheel with one finger and lock-to-lock is within 1.5 turns of the wheel.

Consequently this thing turns on a sixpence (if you could find a sixpence 10 metres wide…). As we trundle along the driving position feels right no real problem with the width (the 777F is 5.2m wide!) even when we come to a junction with two narrow marker posts either side. Then as part of the track ahead is blocked by a dozer Blair decides we should turn around and has me reversing up a slope and doing a three-point turn like this.

The mirrors give a decent rear view..up to a point. It takes a while to get used to the curvature of them—for example when backing up you can t just line up the body parallel to the edge of the road and think you re straight. Fortunately the rear view camera helps but the really ‘interesting’ bit is that at that height you ve no idea what s happening at groundlevel on the right hand side.

It s a complete mystery even a cross grille mirror is of limited use. And this is what you see from the driving seat as you look at your right hand mirrors. It’s particularly noticeable doing the above three-point turn–I know there are a couple of marker posts either side of the road but until you get past them you don’t pick them up again in your mirrors….fortunately they were both standing as I drove back up the hill on the left hand side of the track.

Going down the hill, as the revs and road speed drop (well I thought it a good idea to try the brakes) at 1,500 or so the box drops back down. It s surprisingly smooth. As we start going down a steeper bit of the track Blair suggests we try the multi-stage mechanical retarder worked by the column lever.

It s got a very light action and without trying I go straight to ‘full-on’ position. Er…..hello Mr windscreen! ‘You d better back it off a bit!’ says Blair politely….With a bit more practice we re changing down more gently using the retarder as we descend the hill. In the meantime, I’m delighted to hear that the general rule of thumb on the CAT site is that everything gives way to the big boys.

So what was it like? Actually a lot easier than expected, not least due to the extremely driver -friendly controls and outstanding braking system. The air-suspended seat really takes care of all the holes–although with 9ft wheels and tyres you simply flatten most of them!

Blair explains that he can get a novice driving the big CAT dumper fairly comfortably within a couple of hours although to be really competent you’re talking 4-5 days training. And the biggest part of the training, he tells me, is getting to understand the width of the truck and what’s going on at ground level arouund that offside right-hand-side. Meanwhile, my thanks to Blair and Mia Karlsson at CAT for organising the drive at Malaga.

It was great fun (and safe too!). You’ll find the full story in the January cover dated edition of T&D that comes out in the first week of December. And I have some nice video clips of the CAT triple seven F in action so keep an eye out for them in the coming days as I’ll ask web editor Toby Clark to put them up on BLB for me. (Toby’s a young man, he’s understands all that stuff).Now what’s next?

A combine harvester I think. Last but not least here’s the business end of the big CAT dumper. The mighty 32-litre CAT ACERT V12.

Filters should be easy to get to them you just walk inside the front mudguard! ‘); // just to prevent the ad overlapping in the next p } document.write(‘ ‘ + ‘ipt> ‘); (function(it) it.after($(‘.jq-advert’)); )($(this)); } }); // var paragraph_count = document.getElementById(“jq-mpu”).innerHTML.match(/(|||)/g).length; //if (paragraph_count > = 1) // var secondParagraph = document.getElementById(“jq-mpu”).getElementsByTagName(“p”).length; // alert(secondParagraph); // var adDiv = document.createElement(‘div’); // adDiv.className = ‘jq-advert’; // adDiv.innerHTML = ” + ‘ipt> ‘; //document.getElementById(“jq-mpu”).appendChild(adDiv); //document.write(‘ ‘+’ipt> ‘); //

Are foreign truck drivers above the law?

Operation Stack is bad enough but worse than that is the trucking anarchy that this has created. Truck drivers from Europe mainly Eastern Europe now seem to think it s acceptable to park wherever and whenever they want. The motorway hard shoulder appears to have been handed to them for an overnight stop.

But it is off the stacked motorway that they are causing most chaos and damage. In recent weeks truck drivers have been parking on motorway slip-roads, pavements, grass verges, lay-bys, in retail parks and even on the hatching areas in the middle of junctions. Any place they want appears to be fair game for an overnight stop curtains closed, satellite dish mounted on the cab roof and these foreign drivers settle down for the night.

And when they need toilet facilities they just squat at the side of the road or throw plastic bottle of urine out of the truck window (along with the rest of their rubbish). What are the police doing about these flagrant breaches of the law? It appears that they are doing nothing.

It seems that it s OK for these truck drivers to do what they want, when they want and wherever they want. Would a British car driver be left alone by police if he or she decided to park up for the night on a motorway hard shoulder and heat up a meal on a camping stove, then use the grass verge as a toilet? No, the police would deal with them immediately.

The people of Kent have had enough of the disruption to their daily lives caused by Operation Stack.

But more than that they will not accept the trucking anarchy that now exists, where Eastern European truckers are destroying the Kent countryside with their total lack of respect for the law, property and local residents.

The World’s Longest Sausage and Middle-East trucking.

Classic …

Len Peacock is back with more ‘Middle-East memories’ for Bigloryblog includign this rather impressive combination. “Here we go back to the Middle East again” says Len, “And this time it’s the Mercedes Titan I drove when I worked for Alatas, It was a 6×6 V12 with the old ‘Double H’ shift pattern gearbox and had torque clutch with a kick down to lock in the Torque converter. It was a great truck…more on the way, Len.” And click throguh here for more Powerliner Titans from Len! Two running in tandem with this big lump…wonder what it was used for?

The wheeltrack on the machine on the back of this one looks huge! Something to do with operating in the desert and lowering the ground footprint? And if you want to find out more about Titan and their heavy hitters (they have a great picture gallery) why not visit their website on Don’t forget to fill in the Biglorryblog reader survey and you’ll automatically be entered into a prize draw with a chance of winning 500!

All you have to do is either click on the BIG RED BUTTON on the top right hand of the page or click on this quick link So what are you waiting for?

Help us make Biglorryblog even better by telling us what you think of it and what else we might put on BLB! ‘); // just to prevent the ad overlapping in the next p } document.write(‘ ‘ + ‘ipt> ‘); (function(it) it.after($(‘.jq-advert’)); )($(this)); } }); // var paragraph_count = document.getElementById(“jq-mpu”).innerHTML.match(/(|||)/g).length; //if (paragraph_count > = 1) // var secondParagraph = document.getElementById(“jq-mpu”).getElementsByTagName(“p”).length; // alert(secondParagraph); // var adDiv = document.createElement(‘div’); // adDiv.className = ‘jq-advert’; // adDiv.innerHTML = ” + ‘ipt> ‘; //document.getElementById(“jq-mpu”).appendChild(adDiv); //document.write(‘ ‘+’ipt> ‘); //

Calais migrants undeterred by Eurotunnel security blitz Shropshire …

Migrants trying to reach Britain from Calais are remaining defiant as they made new attempts to storm the Channel Tunnel, just a day after one person was crushed to death under a truck. The man, believed to be a Sudanese national, was killed on Tuesday night as the migrant crisis in northern France worsened. Nine people have been killed attempting to cross the Channel in the last month, according to Eurotunnel.

Some 2,000 attempts were made to get to the tunnel on Monday and 1,500 more on Tuesday night and the early hours of Wednesday morning, the operator said. Despite the risks, hundreds of migrants – some looking as young as 13 or 14 – gathered for a third night along the fence to the freight terminal in Coquelles. TV crews filmed as some 15 climbed through a hole in the wire and used clothes to help them jump over the first of two fences.

When French police arrived in riot vans some of the migrants were rounded up while three or four made a dash towards parked lorries. Raihan Jan, 24, a clerk from eastern Afghanistan’s Nangarhar province, said that he had travelled first to Iran, then on to Turkey, Greece and Italy before arriving in Calais four days ago. He told the Press Association: “We heard that one guy died last night and we know it’s very dangerous, but there is not another way to go the UK. “This is the last chance that we have.

We think that the economy is a little bit better in the UK so we will get a chance to have documents and some work. “Life in our villages is very difficult, we can’t live there. I lost an uncle and we lost all our property and home in the war, everything was destroyed. “I heard that it is also difficult there in the UK but we will try. We are going to try again tonight because last night there were no trains.” Both British and French governments have pledged to increase co-operation and bolster security, with 120 additional French police officers deployed to try to stem the tide of refugees.

But the latest breaches caused lengthy delays of up to three hours for passengers travelling from Eurotunnel’s UK terminal in the early hours, the operator said. The firm added it had suspended ticket sales for those who had not made a reservation. Eurotunnel earlier revealed that since the beginning of the year it has blocked 37,000 migrants trying to make their way to Britain and that in the last month nine people have died trying to cross the Channel.

Although no one succeeded on Tuesday, it is thought that up to 148 people made it to the UK after Monday’s incursion. There have been calls for the Army to be deployed to relieve the crisis. But Home Secretary Theresa May refused to be drawn on calls for military involvement, saying the priority was to install security fencing.

A spokesman for Groupe Eurotunnel, which manages and operates the Channel Tunnel, said it had spent 13 million euro ( 9.2 million) in the first six months of 2015, in physical resources – fences, cameras, infra-red detectors – and 200 personnel and sniffer dogs. The crisis has caused travel chaos on both sides of the Channel, with motorists reporting long queues to get into the terminals. Kent Police said Operation Stack – where freight traffic is parked on the M20 when cross-Channel crossings are disrupted – is expected to last into the weekend.

Sailings from the Port of Dover continued, with P&O Ferries running full services to Calais and DFDS operating a full schedule to Dunkirk and Calais. Migrants sheltered under trees near the fence and started fires to keep themselves warm as the temperature dropped. Different groups from Africa, Asia and Arab countries gathered according to their nationality.

Africans from nations such as Eritrea, Somalia, Gambia and Ghana claimed that they had arrived in France after trying to get across the Mediterranean on boats. One man who did not want to give his name said that 13 people had died after the boat he had boarded to cross from Libya had capsized. Several Africans claimed that they had been attacked by what they described as French “fascists” since arriving in Calais.

At around 1.30pm police mounted a sweep to push the migrants back from the road next to the fence, forcing some to return to their camp, known as the Jungle. Others lay down by the roadside, watching as lorries went under a flyover beneath them. Mohammad Al-Mohammad, 26, from Aleppo, Syria, said he graduated in English literature from the city’s university before the civil war left it in ruins.

Speaking good English, he said that he wanted to carry on studying for a masters degree in the UK, where he claimed his brother was living. He said he had walked and hitchhiked from a refugee camp in Turkey, through Greece, Macedonia, Serbia, Austria and Italy before arriving in France three months ago. He said: “I have tried maybe nine or 10 times to get to the tunnel but I have failed. “I have come here for many reasons.

The Syrian regime wanted me for military service. “I graduated from the University of Aleppo after three years and Isis wanted me to teach the kids (to be) jihadists and I refused. “When I graduated there was no work because of the war and in the area where I live there is no electricity, no internet, there is nothing because the war has destroyed everything. “I am seeking peace in the United Kingdom and my brother is there.

I ask the United Kingdom authorities to help me to go to him.”

Shropshire trucker speaks of port chaos over Calais Shropshire Star

A European freight driver from Shropshire has spoken of the traffic chaos on the approach to the Eurotunnel terminal near Folkestone following reports of migrant activity in France and a strike by French ferry workers. Ian Johnson, from Ludlow, said he was stuck for hours in traffic on the M20 in Kent after police closed part of the road. The Foreign Office this week advised holidaymakers to avoid Calais after a flare was fired at a ferry by French protesters.

And yesterday a stretch of the M20 on the approach to the coast was closed for a second time Police said the latest closure was because of a large amount of freight heading towards Dover and the Eurotunnel terminal as well as continued industrial action by striking ferry workers in Calais. Mr Johnson, who runs Ian Johnson Express European Freight, said the road was also closed on Friday(24), causing huge tailbacks. However, he said the situation was much calmer when he arrived in Calais, with the traffic moving freely.

It s only when you are queuing to get to Britain that you have the trouble with the migrants, he said. Otherwise, they tend not to bother. He said the real test would come on the return trip to Britain later this week.

Fortunately, I don t do the next day deliveries. I didn t need to get to France until Monday, but I always allow a bit of extra time. The days of just turning up and getting on the ferry are long over.

The M20 has been described as a giant lorry park after police shut off a stretch of motorway between Junction 8 Hollingbourne and Junction 13 for Folkestone, to ease congestion at the ports. Eurotunnel said its passenger services were disrupted, with waiting times of up to an hour in both directions due to what the company described as an incident on the terminal . The firm said: We sincerely apologise for the inconvenience this will cause to your journey.

Kent Police reminded lorry drivers that those at the front of the queue would get a ticket to continue their journey to the continent, but those who tried to beat the wait by using the non-freight diversion would be sent to the back of the queue. Janette Bell, commercial director at P&O Ferries, said: We are aware of the Foreign Office advice that cross-Channel customers should check with their operator before travelling and would like to make clear that the port of Calais is at present safe and open for business. P&O Ferries customers at the port of Calais have thankfully not been affected by the well-publicised problems which we have seen at Eurotunnel.

Traffic on the slip roads can access the port freely, cars and lorries queue safely and efficiently in a secure area, and there is no point at which illegal migrants come into contact with our passengers.