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TRUCKRIGHT Industry Vehicle/ Rod Hannifey.

13th June 2021 The start of the Churchill Fellowship Trip 2018.

Goodaye all, I will continue on with some of the videos from my Churchill Trip. The trip started at “Convoy in the Park” at Donnington Raceway north of London. I got a small site for a stand, put up my banners and went searching. I did many videos during the trip, some good and others not so, but this first one here, was my second attempt. I spoke with John about industry problems and solutions, he nominated rest areas as the worst, I do have photos of some of the laybys, but most have to pay for sites and one driver told me it cost him 50 pound for one night close to London, but all you get is the spot, no shower, no meal included or anything. A shortage of drivers, lack of representation for drivers and even cargo theft. One fellow had his curtains slashed in roadside parking bays twice in a fortnight.

The second video is of truck city at the show. Not a Kenworth in site here, but there were two in another spot, one of them originally owned by Burt Reynolds. They are not allowed to tow trailers, just can be driven to shows and if you see some of the roads, including the one into the raceway, you would understand why. They take their artwork seriously don’t they and all must be scared of the dark??

The truck racing was pretty good and I will show a short shot next week. The entertainment was good and the stands and crowds seemed to have a good time. I spoke with people at the DAF stand and they do very well there. At that time there were new rules to come into place for trucks entering London itself, you had to be able to see virtually down in front and beside the truck and if you could do it with mirrors or cameras, that was initially acceptable, but would not eventually pass the proposed next step of the laws.  

I did visit the Road Haulage Association (RHA) and as John says, it is more a group for the bosses than the drivers. It seems they are pretty much on their own and have problems with overseas, untrained drivers coming into the market from Europe and also, the issue of then having both right hand and left hand driver trucks operating on their roads.

The photo attached is of a rig that went past me when I did visit the RHA and the next is one of the laybys, not much to write home about there. The stories from the drivers mostly told the sane tale, lack of facilities, not listened to, but meant to carry and deliver for all.

You can see the truck at the front has its wheels up on the curb, not much room.
If you look down on the right, you will see the little roadhouse.

Look closely, that is a rigid, towing a dolly and trailer and then towing a caravan!!!!!!!

I am working on the next TIV, now due off the line in Melbourne at the end of this month. Mostly going to plan, but both the ancillary extras and my recovery, will likely see it on the road in August, but with an interim set of trailers till the new ones come perhaps in November. Never give up is the motto. More updates and videos next week. Cheers and Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.  

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TRUCKRIGHT Industry Vehicle/Rod Hannifey.

The TIV when the trailers had the night before, rolled over 1 million kilometres.
Caricature from my mate Bruce Outridge from the Lead Pedal Podcast, Canada.

Goodaye all, a new look and a look back at some of the videos from my Churchill Fellowship trip in 2018. We had hoped to use more of them for “TRUCK That Australia” episodes, but without a major sponsor and with the effort of doing the Truckies Top Tips and then the Caravan and Roadtrain videos, we simply could not do it all. Maybe they will return, I sure hope so. You can find the episodes at www.truckingnation.com.au and I would welcome your comments.

I drove into the night crossing into Canada and found few truck stops, they are named differently there and I may well have missed a couple as was getting a bit tired, but the time had changed as I had driven east, so when I finally pulled up trying to find a motel, it was well after 3 in the morning local time. The first place was full and the second had one room left and I got a few hours sleep, as had interviews planned that day.

So on August 9th 2018, I had arranged to meet with the editor of Trucknews in Toronto and ended up doing a podcast interview with Bruce Outridge, he is an ex driver and does the Lead Pedal podcast from Canada. It took a bit of good luck and phone tag to get together, but then when Bruce asked where was I staying and I had no immediate plans, he and his wife put me up for three days and they reckon Aussies are good people! We then went to a truckshow the next day and whilst on Bruce’s balcony having a beer, I got a call from the NHVR saying we had been awarded funding to do the Truckies Top Ten Tips (for sharing the road with trucks), something I had been promoting since 1999 in written format and which I had wanted to do on video for quite some time.

The following is from my Churchill Fellowship report, filed on my return to Australia and available to read, all 60 plus pages, on the Churchill Fellowship website should you be so inclined.

10th August. After a lovely breakfast, thanks Carmen, we did a bit of shopping, me looking for a phone with no success, whilst Bruce and Carmen attended to a few things and then headed to the Great Canadian Truckshow at Flamboro. This was only the second year for the truckshow and attending on Friday being the set-up day, had only a number of very keen and passionate people there. But all the trucks were beautiful and there were drivers doing all the last-minute touch ups and polishing for the real full on show for Saturday and Sunday. The driver shortage or is it a pay shortage in the USA, is the biggest people issue in the industry wherever I have gone. The UK is looking for drivers, the US and Canada as well, with several companies attending this smaller show, all aiming to recruit drivers to the fold.

Each company had a truck and or staff on hand and hope to get some good leads and drivers during the days of the show. Being set up day and having 85 trucks last year, I can only imagine they will have a fantastic turn up of trucks and wish them all the best for the show. A barbeque was held for all attending Friday night, but we left to have some tea and Bruce has other commitments tomorrow, so I was invited back to Bruce and Carmen’s again for the night in the guest room they can use for visitors.

I spent time on the phone with Matt Richardson from the Truck Training School Association of Toronto, another contact from Stan and another friend of Bruce, but all those Stan put me in contact with, are friends and industry colleagues and have all been interested and welcoming.

Canada was the birthplace of the b-double and where Australia got the idea from and that was the reason I wanted to include Canada in my itinerary. There are still very new looking combinations on the road in the same original spec, prime mover with a tri-axle and then a bogie and from my perspective, we have gone a long way from there, going then bogie/tri, then tri/tri, quad/quad super b’s and now up to the very recent announcement of a b-quad. With such different weight laws in the many states of the US, Canada has both a Federal regulation and then each of the provinces has its’ own as well. Sounds like the bad old days in Australia, perhaps we have moved forward, even if only with some things, with the NHVR.

So these two short videos show some of the trucks at the show. I would have loved to have stayed for the whole event, but Bruce had other commitments and I did too, but Bruce later sent me the caricature above. I thanked him and Carmen his wife then, I have done two podcasts with Bruce since the trip and maybe this will get him onto doing another with me. I will thank them both again for looking after a little lost Aussie truckie. Till next week, Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.