RRC, CovLtwt, Elwyn

Its been a while


It's been a while. I've been doing other things I guess. Still with Scouts, in the Explorer section now. It's a bit calmer than just Scouts as it is for the older youth members.

Still driving trucks. Working for a larger company now so its a bit easier on things. My last one had long hours and I had a 45 min commute to get to it for a 13-15 hour day, and although the truck had a sleeper cab I couldn't stop in the truck as it had a night role.

But at least I rarely had to fill the diesel tanks and my 'co driver' would also leave the heater on for when I came on my shift and I'd do the same for him. Left snacks in the truck fridge and often left my internet setup for him to use and stuff. I had a mifi in the cab.

But that's gone now and I'm working for a large company doing store deliveries with artics. Reasonably new vehicles, trailers are of 4 main types depending on their roles and get to shift between 20-40 tons a shift of product, in cages. But still tiring work.

Pays well though.

Since 2013 I upgraded to a Landrover Discovery 2, the dream vehicle I always wanted. 2nd one now as the first one didnt last long. Something went in the engine and, well, that was the red one. I've now got a black one. Will talk more on that when I can.

Quite a bit has happened in the last 8 years, and many many friends have moved on or just completely moved out of existence.
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RRC, CovLtwt, Elwyn

More Class 1 work

So. I've a variety of driving work that has kept me in money, which is good.

Night shunting of trailers over in Birmingham for a few weeks helped with me trying to remember the angles to use, where to point the front and back ends. All good practice.

Initially I was in a Volvo 4x2 Euro spec unit with an introduction to foreign trailers, their customs and the appalling abuse of the legs of the trailers. This meant most of them had to be wound up at slow speed.

Slow speed on the legs is there so that if the trailer was dropped with the legs in the raised position whilst fully loaded you could still hand wind the legs back out to get the unit underneath to recover it.

When the trailer is picked up the high speed option is used but if the legs are bent, out of alignment or just abused then I don't have enough strength to wind them up.

One of the days the office manager came out and wound a trailer up for me. Said it woke him up certainly and reckoned it was his exercise for the day. That was on of 8 trailers I shifted over a 12h period, bearing in mind I was also the one hauling them to the unloading bays to unsecure, supervise the unloading and then re secure their reloaded cargo

It was interesting and for the three weeks I did enjoy myself. There were days when it was also quite quiet and I caught up in my on-line worlds that I frequent, then it was back on to Days with rigids delivering car parts.

Between the two shifts I had a day run with a 6x2 (tri axle unit) and a tri axle trailer with rear steer. It was delivering bricks for a local company to places with a forklift to lift them off. Another enjoyable day and one to prove that my confidence in these longer bendy vehicles is improving considerably.

Then, as with these things, an opportunity was presented to me and so I trundled off to a local haulier I had been told about who wanted drivers; electronically, of course, to start with. This got me an interview, and, a short while later, a job.

So. I now drive Class 1 refrigerated lorries for a local company. The money is pretty good, and I get to drive the usual varieties of units (the bits at front, also called tractors) and either extra long rear steer trailers or the regular kind.
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RRC, CovLtwt, Elwyn

(no subject)

So I've been on local work these last few weeks. Rigids, 18t and above. Or rather, 18 and 26t is better to describe them. I had been asking for early finishes on two days of the week to do other things elsewhere but that wasn't to be and left things stressful on those days because I was never managing to get back before 7pm even if the scheduled time was 5pm for me to be back! I've just found out they've got a new TM (transport manager) above the others so perhaps things might improve. Especially if you've got one set of vehicles running out in the day as well as the night, you need to manage them more effectively...

For example, yesterday my run out should have started at 7am but I didn't leave the yard until 9.30 due to the night driver late getting back, and so my scheduled delivery times were out by 2 hours. The furthest drop, up off M6 J42 rejected the load for missing the time window so effectively all that money and time wasted!

However, last night I wasn't rushing to get back and I've got the lurgy too, so coped OK in the afternoon and then back to the yard. Mayhem. There were at least 6 artics waiting to get unloaded, another 4 waiting to get around those 6 to get out and another 3 rigids trying to move around to get reloaded for their night runs.

I moved back to let one guy try and manoeuvre in and he reckoned he couldn't do it. I thought it could be done and so offered, he agreed as he said he couldn't do it therefore as an 'experienced driver' didn't think I'd manage either.

I then found out why he may have struggled. The reversing camera was just a white screen, so I switched that off. I pulled into the gap between the parked trailer and sthe queing trailers and reversed back with the turn on and after about 2 shunts got the back end curving around whilst the front were a hairs breadth away from those parked trailers...

Lined it up nicely on the bay and left him to it. He thanked me and I thanked him for the chance to practice manoeuvring. He told me I might be good on this contract as it was often reversing into tight places. I told him about one I got stuck with with an artic not too long ago, and most practice to reverse and get it right is good. Even better with him as a banksman and I did point this out.

So then I got my truck into an unloading area, outside of the regular place and pulled the curtains for the 16t of ADR spec corrosives to be pulled off by the forkies and returned to the warehouse then off to checkout.

So. The trucks.

The 26t and some of the 18t are liveried by the company, but there are a few 18t and one 26t that isn't liveried but those are all day cabs or extended day cabs.

26t Scania rear lift (some with rear steer) sleeper mid roof cab. 4 over 4 manual box, air suspension, '08 plates, dirty curtains, poles that struggle to go in and out and the load bearing straps inside are either damaged or tucked out of the way. I try to use them as much as possible but a lot have been abused too much. The other drawback is that when I stretch out to reach the adjusting buckles, I often 'untuck' all the upper clothes like t-shirts and fleece base layers leaving a cold patch just below my stomach (which is sizable anyway).

18t Scania day cab, '61 plate, liveried, often on London. No air suspension, 4 over 4 or 6 speed box. Curtains more decent but turning circle still 'interesting'.

18t Daf day cab, '61 plate, non liveried, London, 6sp box, new and decent

26t Iveco day cab, '08 plate, liveried, autobox, air suspension.

The newer ones have the load bearing straps plus they have load bearing curtains. A lot have ADR plates but the gear needs to be checked each time as some of it can go walkies!!!

I'm now 'ongoing' there and hopefully be there after Christmas, but we'll see how things go. It would be nice that my ADR is helping me keep in work and so far every day is more practice on it.

So. Now at 20 months on Class 2, 9 months with Class 1. I'd think after it past 12m on Class 1 more doors would open but but then again, I'll be lacking on the practice again by then...

Still. I have work at the moment and if I can shift this lurgy this weekend then I've had some tips of where to try and get some work. I don't know if I'd like to work at this place, it seems so disorganised for such a large company! If I'm starting at 6-7 am I'd like to be finished by 6pm. Is it too much to ask for a regular 12h shift, and effectively a 11hr paid duty (well, 11h 15m sans breaks). 50-56 hours a week. Of course, they offen have a quiet day mid week so at the moment I'm only getting 45 or so hours a week...
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