Saturday, July 28, 2012

From the Horses for Courses Department

The British expression "horses for courses" is rarely heard on this side of the Atlantic, but is does apply to three specialist trucks I spotted this week. Each truck has been prepared to do a specific task, which of course means that it wouldn't be much good at doing some other task. Some horses can run in the mud, others are better at long distances, etc., so here are some examples from the truck world:

1. The neighbourhood crow is stalking this big Cat straight truck parked for a little washdown on the passenger side. Atlantic Cat, the local dealer for Cat trucks (and all other sorts of Cat equipment) has fitted out this rig as a mobile service vehicle. I'll see it again someday and hope to get a better shot, but it serves also as a mobile billboard and demo for the new line of Cat trucks, so it is on the go all over the region.  
2. This single screw Freightliner has been fitted out to haul recreational vehicles, and has "RVLiner" on its hood and a "Not For Hire" sign on the side. It has large tool boxes and a supply of spare tires and rims behind the sleeper. Although set up for light loads, it has lots of fuel capacity in the large stainless tanks.

3. Wireline Well Serices Tunisia will be taking delivery of this International chassis truck, which is being shipped out through Halifax. The shipping label gives a weight of 21,000 kg.
4. Sammy is a specially painted Freightliner plow truck from the Halifax Regional Municipality employed in the off season to promote safety. Sammy does his summer work in parades and at fairs, but when the (shudder) snow flies, he will return to more mundane duties.  (Sammy is one of the few F'liners in the HRM fleet, which is predominantly Volvo).

Internationals on delivery

A trio of new Internationals were parked near a motel in Dartmouth this morning, on delivery to Newfoundland. This is not the first time I have seen truckers staying at this hotel while delivering trucks to Newfoundland. I am not sure why they are here, since Halifax is more than an hour off the Transcanada highway, and not on the direct route to Newfie. (The Rolls Royce sign in the background has nothing to do with the trucks-it is a marine engineering offshoot of the famous car makers. However back in the early 1960s, International Harvester trucks were available with Rolls Royce diesels. I don't think they were successful however.)

The big twin steer unit has its regular headlights blanked off and custom square lights mounted in the bumper. The third unit has a delivery sticker for the City of Corner Brook. The first two units also have their rear windows covered to protect them from flying stones. I'm not sure what the piece is sitting in the middle of the frame.
Delivery is being carried out by Truckmovers of Kansas City MO, and the lead unit has a Missouri plate tie wrapped to the grille. See

Back by popular demand-Ottawas and others

Time to have another look at those hardworking yard tractors, this time more Ottawas and some others.
As unlicensed (i.e. off road) vehicles, which do not travel on public roadways, sometimes these yard tractors are a little hard looking. However they still get the job done.
The largest "all Ottawa" fleet now working in Halifax belongs to the Halterm container terminal. Easily viewable through chain link fencing, they are continually on the move between the ship loading cranes and the stackers or straddle lifts in the container storage areas.

1. Containers are lifted off the ship and landed directly onto container trailers.
 2. Seconds later the trucks speed off to destination.

3. Some trailers are single axle, but all can carry two 20 foot or one 40 or 42 foot container. Note the cardboard patch over the skylite on this truck.

4. A 40 foot sea container on a single axle trailer.
5. A double axle trailer with a 40 foot container.
6. Reefer containers were loaded  with doors facing frontward, as they came off the ship.
7. Another reefer on a single axle chassis.

8. A through the fence shot of a truck running through the security scanner.

9. Most containers are unloaded by straddle carriers and stacked on the ground. Similar straddle carriers reload them onto rail cars or highway trailer/trucks.
10. Lift off, then back to the shipside for another one.
11. Parked at the end of the day. The first unit in the line is #3 and it carries an inspection platform.

Several truck terminal operators also have yard tractors at their warehouse locations for shifting trailers.

12. Guysboro Transport Ltd has this Capacity at work in Burnside. The driver is careful not to drive out onto the public street. It is unlicensed, and therefore "off road".

13. This one is a mystery - I haven't been able to get close enough to find a maker's plate.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

UPS - more anonomobiles

UPS now has its service up and running in Atlantic Canada, and its Freightliner delivery vans are common sights on the roads.
I have been surprised to see some vehicles other than the usual P&D types, and as is customary with UPS all outward signs of the vehicle's manufacturer have been removed.
1. This International has no logo or model number. The white box is an interesting variation on the usual moncolour. It may be for intercity work where the delivery vans are for within the city.
2. I have seen this Ontario plated van working downtown in Halifax. The big Ford pie plate has been removed from the grille and back door.
3. Another badgeless International, this time with the box painted in the standard colour.  A sticker on the door says "Horizon Transport" with a US DOT number. Again possibly an intercity unit. A vandal has removed the battery cover.
4. The curb side of the first truck shown above, features two roll up doors.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Ottawa monopoly no more

1. Logistec Stevedoring operates half a dozen flat top Ottawas.

2. Typical is unit 9101 (does 91 represent the year? I think so.)

Among the yard tractors in use in the Port of Halifax, both container piers and one of the stevedoring companies were almost exclusively Ottawa territory until recently. Although Ottawa is the name of Canada's capital city, the yard tractors are named for Ottawa, Kansas, USA. The long history of the Ottawa ownership is too complex for me to understand, but suffice it to say, there has been a Finnish element to its ownership since 1993 when Sisu bought the Ottawa Truck Corp to strengthen its own line of terminal tractors. In 1998 Sisu acquired Kalmar Industries and Ottawa became part of Kalmar. Sisu was owned by the government of Finland and became Partek Industries, which it privatised in 2002 when sold to Kone (the elevator and crane people). Kone then sold Sisu truck (military and highway vehicles) to private owners, and Sisu axles to Berkshire Hathaway, which merged it with Marmon Highway Technologies (the makers of all wheel drives).
In 2005 when Kone spun off  Kalmar it became part of Cargotec Corp, which also owns HIAB cranes and MacGregor cargo handling. Ottawa yard tractors are now part of this large materials handling conglomerate and are one of the dominant players in the yard tractor world. They are said to have produced in excess of 50,000 units.
Others include Capacity in the USA and Terberg in Europe. Smaller players include Autocar [see previous postings] and Tico, a US firm founded 1986.
Recently Fairview Cove decided to replace some of its aging Ottawas.

3. Typical of Fairview's retired Ottawas is this one, still with the Sisu Ottawa name plate.

4. The lineup of retirees includes some flat top and some raised top models.

5. There is a variety of paint schemes and minor model differences. 

Tico is the supplier of a new fleet of yard tractors for the Fairview Cove container terminal in Halifax, which is operated by Cerescorp. Displacing the aging Ottawas is the glass fiber cab Pro Spotter. Tico, with strong Canadian sales and service representation, is based in either Ridgeland, SC or Savannah, GA, depending on who you believe. They have produced some 1,500 units, with the BC Ferries Corp having purchased a fleet for their drop trailer service. Tico also builds container trailers.

6. One of several new Ticos which entered service earlier this year.

7. The tractor is paired with a new trailer.

Ottawa and Tico also provide lease fleets, and operate fleets on lease to users.

There are still a few odd yard tractors around the waterfront. P&H Milling (formerly Dover Mills) still operates its CCC (Crane Carrier Corp) tractor - posted here before. Oddest man out however must this Plan opertated by Oceanex.
8. This ancient Plan still sees regular, but not intense, work.
I have no information on the manufacturers of Plan.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Big 'un, little 'un

Those intrepid explorers from Germany continue to arrive in Halifax en route to adventurous travels in North America. This morning two vehicles cleared out of the Fairview Cove container terminal.

First was this giant MAN LE14.290 all wheel drive built by Unicat. The deluxe all terrain vehicle appears to be brand new and the owner was stowing groceries when I took the photo.
The rig appears to be a Terracross 59 allround model. The Unicat web site is well worth a look. See:

Second was a much smaller rig. A Peugeot HDi with a Burow Mobil conversion. It was driven by a charming German couple on a two month expedition. They hope to reach Calgary this year and resume next year to continue on to Vancouver Island.
Burow Mobil also has a web site at

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Scania challenge

No photos for this one-and here's why.
While whizzing through New Brunswick on July 3 I was surprised to see a Scania straight truck, long hood, with a water tanker body, grinding up a hill northbound. Since it was going the other way on a divided Highway I did not give chase. Scania conventionals were marketed in the US briefly, many years ago, but they are very rare. Since this truck was spotted in New Brunswick, and very close to the Maine border, I was pondering if it was perhaps brought in from there. It was painted in a light brown colour, almost suggestive of a military origin.
Only minutes later I was totally blown away by a Scania COE tilt cab pulling an Erb Transport highway trailer. It was also going the other way, and I did not pursue it either. This one must be virtually unique in Canada. It looked like a typical European model, but not new. It was painted in Erb colours and was going about its business at highway speed.
If anyone has any insights into these Scanias, I would love to hear about them.

See comments below: thank you for responding!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Petes on the road

My weekend round trip to Quebec turned up a few Peterbilts of note:

1. As the crow flies, it's a long way from Texas to Quebec, but this Pete 365 set-back made the trip to have an axle added.

2. A pair of Pete day cabs in Woodstock, NB, en route from Texas to the dealer. The lead unit's third axle is not a Simard addition, so perhaps was done at the factory.

3. Travel in style with this Pete "pickup" with sleeper and fifth wheel trailer. This rig is only about five feet shorter than the semi beside it.

Road trip report

Another whirlwind round trip to Quebec on the weekend turned up a few interesting sights.
At one of my mandatory stops, Simard Suspensions, I saw the first Cat twin steer modification that I have seen. Cat truck production must be rolling full tilt now, and Cat seems poised to make a major impact, going toe to toe with the bigs and perhaps filling the vacuum left by Sterling that was not filled by Freightliner.
1. Cat has twin steer added, and wide spread on the drivers.

Summer is the time to get ready for winter (horrible thought) and Simard has several plow/spreader conversions on the go.

2. and 3. Stoneham & Tewksbury will be getting this heavy KW. The plow gear is tilted forward to allow the hood to open, but will be straightened up when in use.

 4. and 5. The Western Star isn't new but the body is, including an interesting grader blade under the frame and a set back wing plow for grading ditches. Les Excavations C.A.T. Inc is displayed on the doors, but this one appears to be set up for maintaining or building gravel roads.
 6. Kenworth Quebec built this T-800 LH  all wheel drive with Cummins engine, for the MRC de Manic. It's got lots of height and will be an asset in dealing with the winters north of Baie Comeau.