29th March 2022 Westbound and Down.

Goodaye all, seems I am roadtraining all this month, Sunday evening headed for Peth with a b-triple. Fairly standard trip over, I was the last of four to leave (trying to get as much done in my 28 hours home) and arrived first, but one did a changeover, another had an engine problem that was “fixed” and then became a major engine problem, like, needing a new engine, so he was held up a bit more.

I got in to Perth, dropped the back trailer and got the two “A” trailers unloaded Wednesday afternoon and the third Thursday morning, did ring and see if I could load early, but was told no, noon WA time Friday, so was given the chance to get the lot washed, did some shopping down the road etc during my 24 hour break and then headed out Friday.

I was then asked would I do a changeover at the border and then go back again. Why not! Made it back to the border Saturday evening where the other driver was waiting, changed over giving him the b-triple and picking up a roadtrain and headed back, nearly making it to Balladonia and then getting back to Northam at 5PM Perth time Sunday, only to be told the Roadtrain Permit allowing them to travel under escort into Perth still had a curfew on Sunday night and we would have to wait.

By the time I would have been able to split, go in and do the dog run and then come back, I was still quicker into Perth and saved probably 100 litres of fuel, so sat and waited, chatting and in the end, we had a convoy. WA Transport Inspector and four roadtrains and due to the time, it may have been the last escort. The lady at the bus at Northam said they had done over 400 roadtrains, some singly and up to three at a time during the period the escorts were in place.

It must be said there are two things to comment on, first is obviously the WA government recognised the need to help the transport industry and went to the pretty unusual effort of arranging staff, signs and co-ordinating it all to allow roadtrains to travel all the way into Perth. On the other side, why can a PBS “A” double at the same weights, the same number of axles and only 5 or 6 metres shorter, do it every day anyway?

With all the current roadworks between Perth and Northam, I was told it was towards allowing 36 metre roadtrains into Perth in the future. There is a 40k speedlimit, cameras and arrester beds on Greenmount, so it is not like you drive along and go, “Oh Goodness, there is a big hill here I didn’t know about”  and whilst there are bigger hills and others in other cities, what else is needed to make it safe?

The WA Inspectors I either spoke with or who escorted me in the two times (and there is no need for an escort outbound, just have your flashing light at the rear and observe the curfews) were affable and helpful. So our convoy got into Perth about 9.30PM Sunday night and as it was due to finish at midnight, may have been the last.

Having had another of our drivers offer to do the second trailer unload (Thanks Neil) which saved me time and then meant I could take part in another of the “Driving Health” podcasts, of which the last of 6 happens on Wednesday and I would encourage you all to look it up, either directly or via Monash University who is running them and I would welcome your comments.

Time now for an NRFA Board meeting, my spot on Nightshift, then a radio interview with my local Dubbo station and a late sleep in before I load. Now I have to either do a dogrun or find another way out as a roadtrain and I am looking into that for when I load tomorrow. Hope to be back on that side of the world by next Saturday/Sunday. Till then Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey. And then the phone played up, so a day later, such is life.


20th March 2022 A roadtrain here and a roadtrain there.

Goodaye all, been a big week at work, roadtrains here and roadtrains there. Had to reconfigure the triple at Bourke to have the right trailers in place to unload, then off to Mt isa, thought I was going back again after returning to Dubbo, but then for the second trip, did a changeover at Barcaldine, then back to Dubbo, off to Broken Hill, into Parkes, back to Dubbo, then Newcastle and another changeover at Kiga Bore rest area, home this morning and off to Perth tomorrow, third time lucky?

So got to take part in the first “Driving Health” podcast series done by Monash University on Monday after unloading two of my three trailers at a mine, then was to take part in an NTC session, but they ignored my email reply, asking them to send me a link to my phone. Have since contacted them and have a one-on-one session booked for next week.

Into Mt Isa, out the next day with two trailers to pick up a truck at Cloncurry and third trailer at McKinley. I must say the facilities at the Cloncurry saleyards are excellent, good showers, a kitchen nearly, bbq and all, well done and were about to be pressure cleaned after I had my shower. It can be done, we just need more such sites available.

A well [placed, set up and cleaned shower block, thank you to Cloncurry Council.

Second trip took one b-double and dolly out to Bourke, had more trouble than I thought hooking up the second b-double, being dark and in the rain and mud, did not help. But once on the way all good. A top heavy load on the drop deck was interesting over some trainlines, but got to Barcaldine, only to have the fellow I changed over with, have tyre trouble the next day.

Redirected to Parkes, loaded there for Dubbo, missed the taskforce at the parking bay on the northside and had one driver ring me and complain about the use of one of our very popular and much needed rest areas as an interception point, specifically about possibly waking drivers etc. Why not use the weighbridge site just down the road?

Had a listen to the first six “Health in Gear” podcasts and I believe the one I did for them has just been released this week. Some good advice from the other ambassadors involved and if it helps one driver with an issue, then well worth the effort to make them and for drivers to listen to them. Give them a go and let me know what you think.

Seems my timing was near perfect on the run out to Broken Hill, slept on the way out and missed the first big storm, unloaded and headed back and they had a deluge that night according to another driver. Should be all gone and sorted for tomorrow I hope.

Finally got a chance to wash the truck, it looks good when clean, but still have some minor things to add, complete and sort. It will take a few months, but will aim to have complete for when the interim trailers are ready. Hope you enjoy the photos, a couple of drivers asked me was I lost, a couple commented on the new truck, but a change is like a holiday they say, still keen for those new trailers. Till next week, Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.


5th March 2022 To blockade or not, I don’t think it will solve our problems!

Goodaye all, short and sweet this week. Been away and missed all the floods, had some heavy rain, no time to get truck clean or complete much more, except put some carpet in and arrange a bit more storage. Thanks to Inland Truck Centres Dubbo Kenworth dealer for the first service and the next one might get a chance to try and finish lights. One bloke asked me was it Christmas (and I said, yes next week) but another called me up and said it looked awesome, so it only goes to show you can’t please all the people all the time.

Big day Monday for zoom meetings, so a couple of stops on my way to Mt Isa will hopefully see me get a say regarding fatigue review and how current laws, penalties and fines etc affect drivers health.

I note the ATA is now calling for a National Truck Rest Area Strategy, seems I recall proposing that, but if they can help it be achieved, then more than happy for them to push the barrow. We sent the NRFA 6 point plan to all state trucking associations and whilst a couple gave me oral support, none got right behind it.

Many say we have too many associations to get listened too and of course, each says it does the best job representing the road transport industry, but who actually represents the drivers best? I would welcome your views, who has helped you, who has represented you as a driver and who do you support?

I had a call from another past association executive who was involved with the blockade at Gundagai, they believe there are still those who would block the roads to get things fixed, but I don’t think that is the real answer. One it is illegal and they can and will, bulldoze your trucks off the road and yes, we have some public empathy and understanding, but I fear it is more said than felt and of course, the government doesn’t have a clue. They have Glen Sterle’s report sitting gathering dust and don’t seem keen to do much.

Would you put everything you own on the line to block a highway? I don’t think I could and unless we all agree on a person or group to speak for us, have the issues and solutions ready to give to government, then doing so without those things will meant it will not achieve its’ goals. But off to the Isa. Till next week, Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.