Friday, December 1, 2017

Western Star in the rain

Rain certainly does not diminish the bright red company color for Atlantic Tiltload. The growing company, based in Dartmouth, NS with an office in Saint John, has a large fleet of vehicles of various sizes, from small tilt decks to large highway tractors.

Among them are several twin steer dual axle straight trucks, one of which is this impressive Western Star with Palfinger PK 92002-SH  knuckle boom.

Atlantic Tiltload #38 poses in the rain this afternoon.

Atlantic Tiltload seems to be concentrating on Western Stars these days. They still have couple of Cats that are not the favourites for their drivers, and smattering of other brands.


Sunday, November 26, 2017

Miltary vehicles retuning from abroad

Some Canadian HLVW military trucks (Heavy Logistic Vehicles)  have been returned to Canada by ship in recent weeks. I first spotted three of them October 31 lashed down to container frames, but they had been in Halifax for some days then, so I have no idea exactly where they came from.

Because of the casual lettering applied to doors, I assume they were declared surplus before they left their overseas postings and have been returned here for sale. Alternately they may be ear marked for rebuild since they do not appear to be in poor condition.

Two for the price of one?

These trucks have been Canadian army workhorses since 1990. 1,212 of them were built by Urban Transportation Development Corp (Can-Car), based on the Steyr 1491 Percheron as the UTDC 24M32

Long overdue for replacement (2015 by some estimates) the process has started to find a new 16.5 tonne+  6x6 which may be delivered as soon as 2021. Military procurement being what it is, I am not holding my breath.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Lashed and ready to go

A string of trucks loaded on flat cars is an unusual sight on the waterfront. Usually it is cranes imported for Canadian users. This time however it is several Canadian vehicles, probably heading back to their base in Grand Prairie, AB.  Belonging to to the Valard Group, a conglomerate of fourteen brands it is the Canadian presence for Quanta Services. They specialize in engineering, procurement, construction and maintenance of power and telecom transmission projects. I suspect these vehicles were working on the Muskrat Falls project in Newfoundland., and they were a bit of mixed bag.

Leading the parade was this twin steer tandem Western Star with a Manitex crane.

 Next was a twin steer Kenworth with a National crane and triple axles, followed by a modest Freightliner.

The last in line was another W'Star also a twin steer, tri-axle with Manitex crane, sharing its car with Deere a front end loader.

There were also a number of trailers and other gear loaded on rail cars behind the fence at pier 31, out of photo range.

The "Manitex" brand name on the crane booms appears to have been painted over with single coat of white paint, but was still visible. Based in Bridgeview, IL, Manitex was started in 1983 by Manitowoc Company and sold off to new owners in 2003 and is a totally independent and unrelated company separately listed on NAASDAQ.

Manitowoc acquired Potain in 2001, Grove and National Crane in 2002 and continues to make National Cranes for boom trucks in addition to a range of construction cranes and is active world-wide.


Monday, October 2, 2017

Paccar Fleet

Kings Produce Ltd, based in Greenwich and Port Williams, Kings County, NS, was formed by several farm producers to distribute their crops. As part of the operation they set up a trucking company, which has a unique characteristic. Unlike most trucking companies that adopt a standard colour scheme, each Kings truck  has a unique, but somewhat similar paint job.

Most of the trucks are Peterbilts, but I see at least one Kenworth - both brands owned by PACCAR (originally Pacific Car and Foundry)  the last of the independent truck builders.

These rigs were parked at their Greenwich truck shop Saturday, getting their weekly washes.


Sunday, October 1, 2017


M+J Total Transport + Rigging Inc, a division of Mills Heavy Hauling Inc of Halifax has been operating this Mercedes Actros for a few years now. Usually off in some remote area of eastern Canada working on wind turbines or hidden away in an industrial site, it doesn't often make an appearance in the wide open spaces.

Last week it was inside a chain link fence at Pier 9C in Halifax, after a heavy load transfer, but this weekend it appeared in the marshaling area outside the Fairview Cove container terminal. The truck originated with Fahrenholz Industrie in Germany, a company that works with Mills for expediting cargo on the European side of the pond.


Friday, September 22, 2017

First day of autumn, and we know what follows

What follows autumn is no secret. Truck equipment suppliers are in on it too, and this time of year are busy fitting out salt spreaders and plows.

A few recent sights:

The St.John's, Newfoundland airport will be getting this beefy Western Star 4X4. It will likely be towing a sweeper trailer to clean up after the plows and blowers have done their work. Similar rigs are operating at numerous airports in Canada. Note the low mount headlights in the bumper and "blind" fenders.

The Nova Scotia Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal is responsible for highways (among many other things) and will be using this dandy Mack once it is equipped with a plow and spreader body.

Before and after views of some Freightliners. End customer unknown. In the "after" version at left, supplementary headlights are fitted to a spreader bar on the hood. The trucks will likely see road maintenance duties during the non-snow season(s).


Thursday, September 21, 2017

Petes at work

Pete 1

Brinks has upped the ante a bit as far as armoured trucks go. Most of the others in the business use pretty basic Ford and Inters or even Freightliners, but Brinks has introduced a Peterbilt in Halifax in recent weeks.

Not wishing to appear to give it too close an inspection, I was able to determine that that the cab has been at least partially connected with the body by means of a box that looks like an A/C unit atop the cab. The moose bar on the front is a nice touch, and the fresh sticker indicates that the truck has not been in service long.

The extra heavy gaskets around the windshield may indicate special glass. The rest of the cab looks standard, but may be lined with armour plate - not for me to ask!

Note the camera peaking out under the visor on the shotgun (sorry, passenger) side windshield.

Pete 2

A nice looking Pete tilt deck  operated by Added Touch Towing + Recovery Inc came to the rescue of  broken down Bimmer in  my neighbourhood the other day.

The 2 man crew and  the car owner pushed the car out into street where it was loaded on in short order. The photo (taken by smart phone) holds one interesting detail that I did not see until after I had down loaded it  - can you spot it?

 Look directly above the right had clearance light and see two more spectators on the balcony.

Pete 3

Peterbilt has a good market share in the low cab forward market, particularly for compactor body refuse haulers. I think twin steers are rare (except in Quebec) , so I was pleased to get this one in Quebec in August.

From the shape of the second axle fender, it appears to be a Simard Suspension conversion.

Pete 4
Another LCF Pete twin steer, but this one has a clearer view of the way ahead.

Translation: Fresh Paint


Wednesday, September 20, 2017


A new terminal tractor for someone arrived by sea today. The Terberg, built in Benschop, Netherlands carries no markings as to destination or model number.

Terberg makes a variety of terminal tractors in 4x2 and 4x4 configurations - the latter with a swivel seat to allow erase of backwards and forwards operation. This appears to be a basic 4x2.


Sunday, September 17, 2017

Recent RVs

As the fall tourist season peaks, the RVs continue to hover in our region before heading back to the US or Europe. Some recent finds.

This neat looking Citroen was modified by Globecar and is their Campscout model. It carries German plates.

Although wearing British Columbia plates this Mitsubishi  was built for domestic Japanese use, with right hand drive.

A Delica model, it has passed through several hands for modifications.

Featuring somewhat less gracious lines, this former delivery stepvan has been transformed with a snappy paint job and interior fittings. 

There is no outward indication of its original maker, but I have feeling there are Navistar International genes in there somewhere.


Tuesday, September 12, 2017

60 is the new 40

Canadian Tire has been rolling out its groundbreaking 60 foot intermodal container across the country since May of this year, in association with Canadian Pacific.

 Ontario plated Canadian Tire Volvo out of Brampton, did not haul this can over the road to Halifax!
The immense rear overhang of the new 60 footers is not quite so obvious in this view.

Believed to be the first in North America, although Uncle Sam Walmart is breathing down their neck, Canadian Tire has been designing and testing the new big box since 2014. By first attaching Styrofoam blocks to the ends of their 53 footers (they were early adopters of that larger size too), they found that they could still remain within the various legth, rear overhang and other regulations, by using a day cab tractor.

Now they have AICM manufacturring the boxes and Max-Atlas building trombone trailers that can be pegged for 53 or 60 foot (or is it 60'-6"?).

The new 60s will be used in intermodal transport in the Toronto-Vancouver, Toronto-Calgary, Toronto-Halifax corridors and inter-Ontario. Halifax is a big Canadian Tire distribution centre and has consolidation facilities for overseas imports. Halifax is not served by CP Rail, but CN Rail handles their intermodal work here. So far Alberta and Ontario have permitted these rigs, but it seems likely the Maritimes will be on the bandwagon soon.

With the new 60 footers CT claims a 13% increase in capacity, equivalent to four pallets. When you think that CT has 6,500 of the 53 footers in service and has a 15 year plan to upgrade to 60 foot, you can see that this is a big deal.

53 foot containers, and certainly 60 foot containers for now, will be confined to intermodal work, although they do go to sea on some short sea routes such as TOTE Maritime's Florida / Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands service service and Oceanex's Newfoundland service. There is some Asia-Pacific use for reinforced 53 footers, but they are still rare on ships that are usually restricted to the more traditional 20, 40 and 45 foot lengths.

(cell phone photo used for comparison purposes only)

If drivers need sleeping accommodation, will we see the return of the Jimmy crackerbox COE with 24 inch sleeper? 

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Road Report - more classics

A trip through Central and Northern mainland Nova Scotia on Labour Day revealed a few classics still on the job:

This nicely rebuilt C series Ford was once in fire service (some of the gold leaf survives on the cowl) but the doors have been so well repainted there is no outward sign of what department(s) it served. The conversion to carry a dumpster box includes hydraulics and appears to have been done very professionally. (Truro)

 Although it has a 9000 hood, I suspect this Louisville started life as another model. Not many 9000s would have been built a single screw. (Stellarton)

Some Autocars are hard to kill. This dual steer dumper appears to be a daily worker even after all these years. (Elmsdale)

 Nova Scotia's Department of Transportation has extensive shops for rebuilding and maintaining their trucks, so perhaps it is not surprising that this Comfort Cab version Western Star is still on the road.
(Milford, Hants County)

The only thing classic about this Volvo is the colour. Day and Ross, once marketed itself as "The Big Orange" but in recent years has gone to factory white (oh so boring) for company trucks. Perhaps an o/o took it upon himself to go for tradition. Normally there would also have been some black trim too.

 Probably a bargain here for someone. This GMC C8500 is a little too big to justify for my driveway, but it would be fun to give it a try. (Stellarton)


Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Not so elementary Watson - UPDATED

Oversize load carrier Watson, based in Quebec, is the preferred carrier for Bombardier aircraft components that arrive in Halifax by sea. As noted previously their trucks are now sporting more subdued graphics, but are still recognizable by their red colour and beefy Kenworths, as this July 12 photo shows:

Imagine my surprise therefore when I spotted this Watson today:

Yes indeed - a Peterbilt!
I think I prefer the KW setback axle look.

Update September 6:
It was back to tradition today as another Watson truck prepared for the road. It was a typical Kenworth set back, with low rise sleeper and the older graphic scheme.


Monday, September 4, 2017

Double Take at the Big Stop

A noon time visit to the Irving Oil Big Stop at Enfield, Nova Scotia, turned up this F'liner complete with drom box:

AMJ Campbell out of Calgary operates this rig with Atlas Van Lines.

Later in the afternoon I dropped in again, and thought at first glance that the truck had moved from one spot to another, but on closer inspection I realized it was a different rig entirely.

This one operated by Matco, also from Alberta, runs for United Van Lines. Note the low rise sleeper and demountable drom box.

Matco (Mid Arctic Transportation Co) is a part of the Manitoulin Group of Companies- longtime users of drom equipped trucks. Matco has branches in Calgary, Edmonton, and Fort McMurray, AB and Hay River, Inuvik, Norman Wells and Yellowknife, NT and Whitehorse, YT.

It pays to look twice!


Friday, September 1, 2017

Road Report - Classics

During the month of August, always on the search for unusual trucks, I didn't see much until the drive home through New Brunswick. I did catch a few in Quebec however.

Pristine Mack restoration:

Badged as a Superliner, it lacks the golden bulldog, but with the R model cab and notched sleeper, it is a classic - and sounds good too. The RW (for R Western) as it was called was built from 1977 based on a Brockway prototype, and was probably never equaled until the arrival of the Titan.

Always on the lookout for working Autocars, I saw two, but only caught up with one. Both were late model (White GMC / Volvo era), twin steers.

I have shown this one here before - it is used by a foundation contractor, so does not accumulate much mileage, but was rebuilt in the last two or three years, and is still looking good.

On the way through New Brunswick, I saw a few "used iron" lots where it seems the oldies have come to roost until a buyer shows up:

Early set back with White/ Autocar cab is much used but appears to have life left in it.

Parked nearby was this 1982 Metalfab pumper tanker built on a GMC 7000 series commercial chassis.

The tank capacity is a large 1200 (imperial) gallons, and dates from October 1982.

Further down the road in Fredericton, I struck gold - at least for White GMC /Volvo fans:

 The finest looking White GMCs were these short lived models, with tombstone rad, particularly with the low rise integral sleeper.

White contributed this COE cab, which was continued for some time into the Volvo era. This former New Brunswick Department of Highways unit, was likely shop built. 

A great hi-rise plow with spreader body, was likely a Highways Department unit originally. It covers all the bases with White GMC on the rad with Volvo bar and Autocar on the hood.