Transport History

In 1965 another Foden , this time a 20 ton six wheeler with the S.21 fibreglass cab, not the first fibreglass cab on the fleet as ERF KV 16 tonners had been aquired by now. This Foden, 892 CWW was bought new by Robert Hanson in 1962 or thereabouts, the aluminium coal body was retained and she went to work alongside the old 8 wheeler on the Skiningrove run. Gardners 6LW was again the engine of choice but the big difference was the Foden 12 speed gearbox, with a 4 speed main box and 3 speed epicylic unit at the back of it. Ratios were extremely close, driving it was a little like playing the piano. The changes made in the main box with gear lever and range changes made with a short air shift lever on the right of the steering column, the ratios though didn’t follow the logical 4 over 4 pattern and care had to be taken with the choice of driver. A simple twitch of the little auxiliary change lever from direct to low range could be enough to split the aluminium gearbox case. The 12 speed box was extremely highly thought of at Schofields, a pleasure for the skilled driver to use. When climbing hills loaded the driver could preselect his next change and a quick dip of the clutch would give a smooth and lightening fast change. Not fool proof but better than the Eaton 2 speed axle which, if hurried, would leave you stranded without drive, the rear axle growling loudly and then engage with a very unhealthy bang, by which time forward motion had ceased and a restart would be required, lots of cursing pouring forth from the occupant of the driving seat. The speed of the change and close ratios were well suited to the daily duelling with any other loaded vehicle that happened to be around, on a suitable stretch of uphill gradient, some victims being chosen on a regular basis. Buses pulling out of bus stops with total disregard for whatever was bearing down on them from behind, could be assured of problems if it was Carl at the wheel. The offside mirror of the bus usually being the price to pay, neatly removed by the nearside rear sideboard pin of the Foden, precision driving no less!

1967 was to see the arrival of the first brand new Foden, OYG 258E, a 22 ton 6 wheel double drive chassis with S21 cab, Gardner 6LX 150, Foden 12 speed gearbox and Fodens own rear bogie was fitted with a dropside tipper body similar to RKU 535. In fact OYG and 892 CWU were almost identical at first glance. The newer wagon however, had a wider track so the cab had correspondingly wider wings to cover the wheels. Almost every component worth mentioning on the Fodens of this era was manufactured in house, they even had their own foundry, this coupled to the low volumes involved was quite probably one of the reasons for their near demise in the early seventies. OYG, as the vehicle was usually referred to or queen Mary by some, again supplied by Stanley Hughes, who allowed Schofields to take the vehicle and ‘pay for it when you’ve got some brass’, which they did. Mark remembered well the trip to Hughes garage at Cleckheaton to look at the new Foden and being invited upstairs into a room with a bar and billiards table, where Stanley entertained on a Sunday morning. Lapel badges belonging to long defunct manufacturers were thrust into has hand and are still part of a collection amassed by writing to every manufacturer worldwide that he could find the address for, letters posted 30 at a time, all with the same hand written letter inside, a response from Japan or Canada could take six months but would be met with great excitement. The envelope battered by its journey would hopefully contain more badges, stickers and glossy brochures, all of which he still has, no e-mail or websites then.

Not long after OYG was aquired she was upgraded to 24 tonnes or 24390 Kg in metric speak. The wagon was put straight to work on the Skinningrove run, 892 CWW being converted from tipper to skip wagon by now, later work was to be a lot more varied with muck shifting and some demolition work undertaken, scrap deliveries usually within an eight mile radius of home. The new wagon resplendant in its shiny and by now familiar maroon and post office red, was a dream come true for Carl, although driving it was shared with Harold Brown, a long time employee famed for his thirst, Carls time being spent running the yard and crane driving, another passion. Maroon by the way was chosen back in those pre 2nd world war days, because it was Normans favourite colour, many of his cars being maroon, the post office red chassis complimenting it nicely. The paint on the cab was unusually Cellulose, more commonly used on cars, it gave a high gloss finish that could be polished up for years with no corrosion problems on the GRP cabs, the chassis would be resprayed 2 or 3 times over the years, the cab was fine for 10 years.

In the mid 1970s Schofields had diverted into local authority work for the highways department of the newly formed Kirklees Council, virtually every wagon on the fleet was adapted to grit and carry a snowplough, the Foden 6 wheelers however ploughed only, loaded up with ballast it took very deep snow to stop them in their tracks. The arrival of purpose built 6 wheel drive Atkinsons in the late 1970s cut down their ploughing duties though.

The telehoist skip unit fitted to 892 Cww in 1971 meant the Foden was busy every day collecting and delivering loads of scrap and stone, usually within 50 miles of home, the mileage was mounting, wagons from Robert Hansons were no stranger to high mileage and Schofields had been clocking the miles up since 1965. The decision was taken to replace the 6LW, still going strong, with a 6LX 150bhp engine. With 30hp more the Foden gained a new lease of life, although life on the motorways wasn’t much fun for driver Roger Brook, away from the motorways, the 150 and 12 speed combination running at 20 tonnes was quite acceptable, outright top speed wasn’t a strong point though, being even lower geared than OYG.

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