Transport History

The durability of the Fodens, reliability of the Gardners, not to mention economy, the seemingly unbreakable nature of the 12′ chassis, the corrosion proof cab, all these things combined gave Schofields and of course many others their ideal wagon, a symbol of British engineering from the 60s at its best. 892 CWW ‘retired’ around 1981, she still sits under a pile of scrap in Schofields yard, just visible. Mark passed his HGV class one 2 weeks after his 21st birthday in 1980, so had the pleasure of driving her for a while, replaced by a Bedford that would top 70mph, but was gutless on the hills, the old Foden was missed. OYG became Marks next wagon, by now a Gardner 6LXB 180 and welded alloy tipper body had been fitted, a selection of drivers who couldn’t handle the Foden 12 speed had been and gone leaving a trail of damage behind them. A tachogragh was fitted, larger convex mirrors in place of the small flat glass, typical of their era, rearward visibility had never been better, a real bonus considering that the tarmacced roads between Schofields mountains of scrap were only inches wider than the wagon. Reversing wagons down the yard was a skilled job but occasionally the polished chrome bumper would be bent on some unseen piece of scrap, Oh! For the kerbside mirrors of today. The more substantial steel channel iron fitted along with the snowplough frames solved this problem.

Mark remembers his apprenticeship on OYG with great pleasure, glad that he had the chance to drive her, the Foden air operated windscreen wipers weren’t a favourite feature, heavy snow would stop them extreme cold freeze them, strong winds lift them off the extremely curved windscreen of the ‘mickey mouse’ cab. A typical day would be a load of cast iron to G.E.Cs Dick lane foundry at Bradford, tip at 7.00am an empty dash to Staveley, hand load 15 tonnes of S.G Iron into a loading shovel bucket to be tipped into the tipper body, back to Huddersfield, another trip to Dick Lane in the afternoon, if the foundry was busy two loads would be taken, every load taking an hour to place on the wagon with the electro magnet, 6.00am to 6.00pm being the norm no matter how dark or how rough the weather, the wagons were loaded or ‘set up’ for an early start. Marks real problem with OYG was the 48mph top speed, for a lad wanting to get on, being passed all day on the motorway was extremely frustrating, hills were a different matter, even in the early 80s the Gardner 180 and Foden 12 speed took some beating, things were soon to change though, but more of that later.

The other mark of note on the fleet was of course ERF, KVs, LVs, A series, B series and E series, all 16 tonners found their way into the Schofield ranks, tippers and skip wagons. Vehicles from Rowntree Mackintosh, Showerings and Tolman car transporters were bought, many more were used as gritters and still are. EYA 983C an ex SVW distribution at Magdale vinery near Meltham, a 16 tonner fitted with a tipper, had joy of joys a Garndner 6LW 120bhp, not the usual 5LW 100, a David Brown six speed and Eaton two speed axle completed the driveline, standard ERF kit for decades, this particular Browns box had a different, illogical layout to normal, one change being forward into neutral, across the gate and back into the next gear, a fairly large ratio jump made this change quite difficult. The gearlever originating from the rear of the cab between seat and bonnet, not straight up from the floor by the left foot, the changes were short and sweet for a Browns box, better than some cars according to ‘Brooky’. EYA lasted into the 80s, running in tandem with OYG to Fleetwood with steel swarf for export on occasion.

Gardner 6LXB 180bhps were to power the later ERFs, drawbar units, six wheelers with an axle removed, tractor units plated at 32 tons, all became 16 tonners on the Schofield fleet, more still as gritters, 6LXCT 230bhp C series making their mark gritting.

One other vehicle bought in 1972 worthy of a mention was a 6×6 AEC militant with a Jones KL10-6 10 ton crane mounted on the back, bought at auction at Ruddington and used primarily in the scrapyard with a magnet fitted. The crane jib overhanging the front meant that a second man had to be carried on the road, this usually meant a day off school for Mark, with its driven front axle, the steering lock was terrible, the AEC 11 litre engine, prone to head gasket problems, after a few years of occasional road trips the AEC was kept taxed but rarely left the yard, in fact it spent most of its life with a 40 foot jib and magnet fitted being driven by Stuart ‘Joe’ Moore, brush painted in yet more Khaki green by Carl, Joe polished the AEC with an oily rag daily. The AEC was cut up and scrapped in the mid 90s after over 20 years of 9 hour days.

Traditionally scrap would be transported around the yard using one of the ‘retired’ 16 tonners, however the need to buy a dumptruck for site work in Bradford led to two Foden 6 wheeler dumpers making an appearance. One of these, newer than the other, had Fodens own two stroke engine, the only one ever bought by Schofields. The sound from this engine was distinctive to say the least, during the 60s the Foden 8 wheeler coal wagons with the two stroke would be heard high up on the hill at Schofields, as they made there way up the A62 trunk road in the valley bottom toward the climb over Standedge. This vehicle was sent to Bradford and worked hard hauling foundry sand and slag from the Schofield separating and screening plants, abused all the time, occasionally reversed over the edge of the tip by Robert Bulmer, from where it would take the Smith 26 crawler crane rigged as a dragline, case 1150 crawler shovel and OYG 258E to extricate it. Roberts chosen method of loading the dumper seemed to be to bury it and then accelerate through the 12 speed box with its direct low and super low ranges as fast as possible. Other than broken springs the Foden was indestructible.

The other dumper would have appeared to have been built in the 50s, rusty from end to end and fitted with a Gardner 6LW, this one was the yard runabout, no 12 speed for this one, a broken engine mount would cause the engine to hit you on the left leg when reverse gear was engaged and the clutch released. The heavy duty Dumptruck body was the key to survival in the yard, the heavy cast iron that Schofields bought in to break for the foundries could weigh up to 20 tons and soon wrecked the old road wagons. This Foden sits in front of 892 CWW, buried under scrap but clearly visible to this day. A newer 35 ton 6 wheeler was bought for the site work, fitted with a Cummins engine, 12 speed gearbox and Foden axles this model had twin wheels rather than the super singles of the older models, sold when the site work ceased, deemed too big for the yard. In 1979 possibly, a 25 ton 4 wheeler with Leyland engine and the usual Foden driveline was bought for the yard, short but wide the vehicle looked almost square. After 10 years with Tilcon though, had a body that had only carried smaller quarry material and was very tidy. For the first time a dumptruck was repainted, Carl brushpainted the body, Mark spraying the rest, signwritten, she looked very smart. This dumper is still in everyday use carrying scrap up and down the yard.

On regular occasions artics would attempt to climb one of the steep hills, the 1 in 7 double bend on Linfit Lane usually, leading to Schofields yard, this wasn’t to be advised. With the rear of the trailer dug in to the nearside wall and banking, the tractor unit drive axle through the wall at the other side, traction having been lost completely, the 32 ton rig would be helpless. The Foden dumper would be ballasted with 10 or 15 tons of heavy cast, reversed the half mile down the road, a suitably strong wire tow rope connected and away we went, with the artic driver under strict instructions to do nothing but steer, the Foden gearing being so low that to attempt to drive the highly geared artic would have led to much bouncing and snatching and either a broken tow rope or half shaft.

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