Monday, February 21, 2011

Industrial Stength Kenworth

Not your normal highway Kenworth, this boom truck has the heavy radiator and industrial type cab roof.

However it has fancier fenders than the flat plate you would expect on a vocational truck.

There must be a story behind this Alberta truck (once owned by NWP Trucking Corp, spun off in 2005 from NWP Industries, founded as Northwest Pipe & Supply) and how it ended up in Nova Scotia. (Photo 2011-02-16)

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Sprinting Flat Out

Most Dodge Sprinters were vans, so it was interesting to see a flat deck cab only version this morning. Although appearing in all the Dodge ads, they were rare. Note the three seats, complete with head rests, and lack of rear window.

Mercedes continues to offer them under the new regime.

Really Big Pink

1. The first of the Prevost articulated buses to be painted pink appeared this month. (2010-02-05) Sister buses will follow.

2. RML 2365, 2677 and 2534 emerge from hibernation and head for the paint shop (2010-02-16)

Ambassatours had several pink double deckers on the road in the past year, promoting breast cancer awareness, but I see that they are now starting to repaint their former Holland America Prevost bendy buses in the same pink colour.

The second one appeared last week. At the same time, some of their winter stored Routemasters emerged from a waterfront warehouse and headed for the paint shop.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Mercedes update (updated)

No sooner do I post on Mercedes than I see another! Still a rare sighting, so despite the heavy snow fall I took the picture. The truck is a drilling rig owned by Foraco, a French based international drilling company, with operations in Canada. The truck had presumably arrived by ship, and was being loaded onto another truck for western Canada.

Update February 16:

Usually when I see a truck at the Fairview Cove terminal I snap it right way because it will be gone in a few hours. I was therefore suprised to see the Merc still there today. The decision was made to remove its front wheels to lower the overhead clearance, so that was going on this morning.

That gave me a chance to snap the Totran Volvo that was hauling it. Totran is based in Calagary (see ) so it's likely the drill rig is going far west.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Mercedes on the Roads

The recent arrival of the Mercedes badged Sprinter [see post of January 30] is a reminder of several attempts over the years to launch Mercedes trucks in North America. None of the attempts lasted very long (although some of the trucks certainly did stand up) but that was before Daimler owned the Freightliner operation.

Now with that large infrastructure in place the three pointed star may be here to stay or even to proliferate.Certainly if Volvo trucks are any indication the name/brand has certainly become a household word fairly quickly.
Here are a few domestic Mercs:

1. O'Keefe Breweries in Quebec ran a number of these low profile light tilt cabs. It was easy for the driver to get in and, they had diesel engines, and with the set back axle could get in and out of tight spots. 1989.

2. The conventional was once common, particularly for small reefers and delivery vans. This Model 1317 diesel wound up as a reefer service van. Part of the roof was cut away at the rear to allow access to trailer and container mounted reefer units. Turning the three pointed star upside down was also a favourite prank. 1997.
There have also been Mercedes visitors to Canada from time to time too:

3. Every year one or two adventurous German tourists, with their pristine (and sometimes restored) Mercs arrive by ship and embark on cross continent trips. This Mercedes 710 was spotted in 2003. [see also my previous feature of Peter on the Road]

4. The German military used to have training bases in Canada. This Mercedes Unimog ambulance was on its way back to Germany and would be loaded aboard ship in Halifax. 1993.

5. In the same shipment was this utility Unimog.

6. A de-militarized "Moggie" has been available in Canada for a number of years. This one was from 1993. Their goat like climbing ability suited them for ski-hill maintenance and other such duties. [See also my first post in January 2010]


Saturday, February 5, 2011

Is it an ARFF or is it a Mirage?

No I wasn't seeing things - it is a real E-One HPR 6X6 Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting vehicle, belonging to the Canadian Armed Forces. It's a major piece of work, with a 3000 (US) gallon water tank, 400 usg foam cell and 2,000 usgpm Hale pump. With the usual array of monitors and a massive 665 BHP Detroit it means business.

Ever since it arrived in Halifax on the Saudi Arabian ship Saudi Diryah on January 14, along with two aircraft re-fuelers (on Sterling chassis) I have been wondering if perhaps it came from the ill-fated and no-longer secret Canadian military base in Dubai. Following a silly spat with Canada over landing rights for Emirates Airline in Canada (Canada said no), the United Arab Emirates unceremoniously kicked Canada out of Dubai with 30 days notice, back in October. The secret base, used as a staging area, was attached to Al Minhad Air Base and was used by CF Hercules and other aircraft to land and transfer supplies and people for Canada's military ops in Afghanistan.

There certainly must have been a fairly large collection of military vehicles attached to the base, some of which would have been re-deployed in the general area, but others would not have been needed anymore, so where did they go? Back to Canada would be the answer, and perhaps due to their size the tankers and this baby were sent home by Saudi ship. Just a guess.
Photo taken this morning on the waterfront, with the ARFF chained down to a trailer ready for road transport. With those low pressure tires provoding lots of bounce, I hope the chains are tight!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Big KW for Big Van Line

1. Hard driven KW shows the signs on its front bumper.

Arpin Van Lines of West Warwick RI is one of the biggies in the moving business, with freight forwarding and storage operations world wide, as part of the Arpin Group.

Founded in 1900, as Paul Arpin & Sons and later Paul Arpin Van Lines (to 2006) it has been a North American Van Lines associate since 1955.

Interestingly the Arpin family traces its roots back to Drummondville, QC in the late 1880s. At that time there was a major migration from Quebec to industrial centers such as Providence RI. The original Paul Arpin started hauling coal there in the 1890s. The company has had steady growth through several generations of family ownership:

Arpin does a fair amount of corporate and government relocations and cross border work, so the presence of one of their rigs in downtown Halifax is more likely related to a business delivery than a domestic domestic move.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Blurring the Lines

1. International now.

2. Big lawn mower. Deere is spreading into Cat territory.

Navistar International and Caterpillar are due to roll out a new line of trucks under the CAT banner -to be sold and serviced by Cat dealers. This will be a line of vocational trucks- transit mix, refuse, dump trucks, etc.,

The trucks are already on the road in Australia, but are not due to be unveiled in North America until March. These are to be heavy tucks, and from what I have seen are not likely to be very adventurous in terms of appearance. They will look like Internationals, except for the large CAT logo on the rad.

From my casual unscientific observation Western Star and Volvo/Mack seem to have this market pretty much to themselves for the past few years. With the demise of Sterling, perhaps there is room for still another player. Even so it represents a major investment from Cat into new territory.

With incursions into Cat's traditional machinery range from a variety of sources, including John Deere, perhaps it is time for Cat to trade on its high brand recognition and spread out. They certainly did this in August 2010 when they acquired Electro-Motive Diesel from Greenbriar/Berkshire. The former Electro-Motive Division of GM, which manufactures diesel locomotives in La Grange IL and London, ON is now set to take a run at industry leader GE. Cat will build a new plant in Muncie, IN as part of this move.