Talking Trailers - 1/76 HGVs

I have been working in the Transport industry for nearly 40 years, and in that time have seen a lot of changes in the vehicles we use, and no more so than in recent years.  I thought I'd use three of the 1:76 models from Oxford Diecasts to illustrate one or two things about these commercial vehicles which we see on the road every day.  Some collectors may well know these details, but for those who don't I hope this might throw a bit more light on the subject of these large vehicles that we see around us every day.

With the three models I have used, there are 3 different types of tractor unit and they are hauling 3 different types of trailer.  Going from left to right above, there is a Scania tractor unit pulling a Temperature Controlled Trailer for Eddie Stobart.  Then a Volvo Tractor pulling an ambient Box Trailer for Irish based haulier Lucey Transport and then a DAF pulling a Curtain Sided Trailer for Benson Bros.

There are lots of things about driving an HGV these days, and the price of fuel over the last few years has been hitting the transport industry hard.  There is so much work that goes on to make these large vehicles not only as safe as possible but also as fuel efficient as well.  In the album below I have tried to use the models to illustrate a few things.  In terms of safety, the Benson and Lucey trailers both have the large safety bars on each side of the trailer, between the back of the legs and the rear axle.  This is to protect car drivers, as well as bikes ideally, from running underneath the trailer and being run over by the rear wheels of the trailer, so are strongly built.  If you look at the Eddie Stobart trailer, then you see a plastic cover along the lower sides.  Behind them you would still find the strong safety bars, but the plastic covering gives more streamlining to the trailer and the improved aerodynamics of the airflow help boost the mpg figure for the vehicle.  Only by a little bit, but every one of those little bits adds up over the number of miles these trailers travel.

If you look at the picture comparing the gap between the back of the tractor unit and the front of the trailer on the Lucey and Benson vehicles, you will see one is closer coupled than the other.  The closer you can couple the two, the better airflow and fuel consumption you get.  Hence you also see more of the aerodynamic panels added not only the roof of the cabs, but also to the rear edges of them as well. (Hover your mouse over the pictures for a comment on what is being illustrated)

The ambient box trailer on the Lucy truck has twin rear doors and is commonly used for all sorts of general cargo , or ambient temperature product, which doesn't require any special conditions within the trailer.  You can unload from the back doors with a fork lift but these are ideal is you have purpose built loading docks they can back onto so you can unload them from the same level, usually with the use of a dock leveller to bridge the gap, then used pallet trucks to offload pallets or as is often the case, wheel off cages of product.  The curtain sider of Bensons is used so the trailer can be loaded/unloaded with palletised goods, from both sides.  Other than ensuring the palletised goods inside are secure, you need to be careful to get the weight balanced evenly over both sides of the trailer.

Finally the Temperature Controlled trailer of the Eddie Stobart truck.  This has a fridge unit mounted on the front of the trailer.  Positioned here they give some additional streamlining rather than just a flat fronted face to the trailer, the engine is easier for service engineers to get to and it leaves the full internal length of the trailer to be available for cargo.  The will be insulated and loading/unloading is done only via the rear doors.  Internally these can be split into 2 or 3 compartments with the use of bulkheads which can be folded up against the roof when not in use.  This allows you to have different temperatures in each of the compartments so you get better efficiency by being able to carry a mixed load.

That's just a very brief look at these three trailers but hopefully will show how good these models are in the smaller scale of 1:76 and give a good indication of some of the features and why they are there on a modern HGV.  Oxford Diecasts have done a good job of them.