Sunday, January 30, 2011

The secret can now be revealed.

Heavily guarded by the Canadian navy, these mystery trucks arrived in Halifax by ship from Europe. They were secreted out of Halifax on Christmas Day in hopes that they would not be seen by the truck watching public. And now they have emerged in all their finery.

1. Backed up by the RCN (2010-12-25)

2. Cunningly disguised (2010-12-25)

3. Ahah! It's a Merc (2011-01-28)

Of course it was no secret that when Fiat took over Chrysler from Daimler that changes would be made. The popular Dodge Sprinter was the first to go. Daimler reclaimed the rebadged Merc and it is now badged as a Mercedes and sold through Freightliner.

So why the secretive treatment, with aprons (or bibs) over the three pointed stars? I'll never tell, I swear.

4. The Dodge Sprinter (really a Merc) - gone.

Bulletin: I guess I was a little early for April 1. It really was intended as a joke on my part, to say that the trucks were under guard - no they weren't. When I examined my photos I saw that the Canadian naval dockyard was clear in the background. The protective shipping covers over the truck grilles was not really an attempt at secrecy, but a means of keeping dirt off the chrome. The Daimler/ Mercedes star was still quite obvious.
As for Canadian regulations- all commercial vehicles must display a plaque if they are carrying dangerous goods.
Sorry for the panic!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Medic! or are we being invaded by the Red Cross?

This strange beast was spotted northbound on Robie Street in a bit of a snow squall on Saturday morning. Six single tires, with a wild toe-in on the front, and no Canadian military markings. The canvas roof is also pretty much non-Canadian looking.

And it doesn't appear to have drive on the front - at least there's no obvious sign of a differential or drive shafts.

Pair of Red Trucks

Parked very near to each other this morning in the Bayers Lake Industrial Park. Expressing perfectly the strangeness of the Bayers Lake Park - which contains industries (such as the scrap metal dealer) but also retail outlets (such as the mattress store) right across the street from each other. Weird place, but nice trucks!

1 and 2. Transition era Mack with R-model, full width cab, parked in front of the mattress store, waiting to unload its cargo of scrap metal.

3 and 4. A 1948-53 era Chevy complete with the deluxe chrome trim and quarter windows, suffers the indignity of being left outdoors as a sign board in front of the mattress store. It feels even wierder with scrap dealer behind it acrosss the street.


Friday, January 28, 2011

Dinosaurs still on the road

Yes there are still dinosaurs out there - they have not gone completely extinct.

Restricted to a very few examples on Canadian highways, there are still some tilt cab/ COEs running.

This United Van Lines Freightliner with dromedary box, should be declared an endangered species. It carries Ontario plates, and shows a few battle scars. The tension strap across the rad is holding something together - not sure what.

Twenty or even 10 years ago this truck would not have raised an eyebrow, but heavy COEs are so rare now that you really have to stop in the middle of the road to take a picture when you see one. Although I would certainly have wanted a shot of this one on the strength of the mirror mounted spot lights. This guy must go where no man has gone before if he needs lights like these.

Spotted on Marginal Road in Halifax today, this truck represents the culmination of the North American COE before streamlining took over.

Campbell Brothers of London, ON operate this truck - see their web site, especially their history:


Thursday, January 27, 2011

Tale of two Stars

1. Salty Star from Saskatoon shows some miles from Nova Scotia's famously salty roads.

2. Shiny Star from Nova Scotia - what's his secret?

3. Scoop tram - a necessary fixture in a salt mine.

Salty Star and Shiny Star at Fairview Cove on Tuesday.

The salty Western Star, running for RSB Logistics of Saskatoon, SK is a long way from home, and shows it. A thick coating of road salt, picked up on the way coats this otherwise fine looking truck. Even the tire chains, slung behind the cab heater look like a solid lump held together by salt.

Nova Scotia claims to be the road salt capital of the western world. A dubious claim, but we do mine it and spread in almost equal quantities back on every conceivable horizontal surface every winter. It's a constant battle to keep a truck looking clean - especially if it is black!

Grant Davison of Brooklyn, NS, running his very similar Western Star for Fastrax (a special commodities division of Day & Ross) must know the secret however. His pristine truck was parked right next securing his load.

And what is that load ? why it's an Atlas-Copco Wagner ST2G Scooptram. An articulated, 4 tonne capacity underground mine vehicle. Powered by a Deutz air cooled engine, it is the latest thing for your underground mine. And where do you suppose it was headed - for a salt mine?

Monday, January 17, 2011

More big loads

Trucks have been arriving in the port of Halifax since December assembling a large project cargo for Africa.

This morning three units from Equipment Express Inc of Ayr, ON were waiting to unload. Two Kenworths and a Western Star were spotted in line. All had air lift trailers carrying similar boiler plant modules.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Classic Freightliner

Phil Leil Enterprises of Truro, NS operates this pristine classic Freightliner conventional to move houses. Seen in Windsor, NS January 11, 2011.

I know it is a classic because the split windshield was eliminated many years ago, but was the original cab configuration when Freightliner first started to build conventionals in the early 1970s. Set back front axles came along a few years later, so this might be as old as 1980.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

FWD: Part 4

I don't know what I have been waiting for, but I seemed to have stalled at Part 3 back in November. I alluded to some oddball rebuilds of Nova Scotia Department of Transportation FWDs with Ford Louisville (possibly Scot) first generation, cabs - well here are some more, and some other oddities.

1. NSDot, Middleton, June 1982. Oshkosh cabs, and on one, an FWD rad, hood and fenders. So is it a rebuilt FWD or rebuilt Oshkosh? The answer will not be found here - it will remain an eternal mystery.

2. In 2001 the department was selling off this unit at their Miller Lake garage. The cab is Walter, but the hood says FWD.
3. Doesn't matter much who made it - it looks pretty able!

4. Big one way and wing plow, with Louisville cab and FWD hood and rad, at NSDot in Truro in June 1989.
5. A similar unit, with plows off. The more typical black top on the hood.

6. A side view of this unit shows the transfer case amidships, which means an FWD chassis and running gear. The Louisville cab replaced the orginal, and the hood was modified to suit.
7. This one has a bit of a dip to the hood, but still bears the FWD name and FWD rad. All of these were taken at the Truro NSDot base in June 1989.

8. A brand new Louisville cab in a shipping crate at the Burnside NSDoT garage. NSDot operated some Fords, and some Scots from there, but no FWDs, so this may just have been a replacement.


Monday, January 3, 2011

Ready to Work

This Grove crane, with its attendant truck are poised and ready to start work for Partners Industrial Crane Rentals.

The crane is a Grove GMK5275, which boasts a 233 foot, 7 section boom (which can be extended to 354 feet with a jib) and a 275 ton maximum lifting capacity. It is mounted on a five axle chassis. All axles can be set up to steer (axle 4 can be disengaged on the highway) and axles 3, 4 and 5 are drive axles, with an optional drive on axle 2.

To keep axle weight down to comply with local limits it is also fitted with a three axle dolly.

The Western Star truck is hauling a trailer with an array of counterweights for the crane.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Purolator goes Green

1. Unit E1610127 makes a delivery on Brunswick Street, December 31, 2010.

2. There's a bar code indentifier, a convertor's sticker, but no Utilimaster plate-just a blank spot.

3. Offside of another unit on Water Street December 31, 2010.

Purolator Courier (owned by Canada Post Corp) has gone all Hydrid-Electric in its Halifax fleet. The first models were introduced last month, but they have only gradually taken to the streets.

Otherwise not easily distinguishable from their Utilimaster predecessors, they have the graphics identifying them as Hybrid on the doors. There is also a sticker under the drivers side window identifying Balance Hybrid Electric as the conversion company. It also seems that they removed the cast "Utilimaster" name tag in the process - it used to appear just below the drivers side window.

I do see a Mickey Mouse wiring job to the mirrors, but the rubber fender skirts are a dressy touch, even though the rear dualies appear undersized.
There is also a bar code on the drivers side of the hood identifying the unit number - this matches the number painted above the driver side windshield.
[See November 23 post for photos of conventionally powered Utilimasters.]
Update: press reports indicate that these trucks are built on a Ford E450 strip chassis with 5.4 liter Triton gasoline engine. This is the Balance hydrid electric system from AZD (Azure Dynamics.) AZD also produces bus truck and car electric and hydrid drives.