Transport History

December 1982 saw the first brand new Foden for 15 years. Pelican engineering at Rothwell had a 30 ton 8 wheeler for immediate delivery, a cancelled order, already fitted with a bulk coal body was taken to Bradford to see if it would fit around the foundrys tight corners. It did. The wagon was fine, the body not so. A special alloy tipper was to be built with four foot sides, reinforced floor,1/2′ plywood liner covered in steel, the sides double skinned with replaceable ali wear sheets. NMI at Barnsley would build the body, and all future Schofield bodies, owned by Robert Hanson, NMI carried out all the repairs in the future as well. BYG 167Y was delivered at Christmas ready for the New Year. No Gardner for this one, a Rolls Royce 290L coupled to a Fuller 11609B 9 speed box and Rockwell rear axles. Marks ideal wagon would have had a Gardner 6LXCT 230, however most 30 tonners at that time had either a Cummins 250 or Rolls 265 so the 290 put him ahead of the game. With a top speed close to 80mph and power to spare nothing could touch it, not many artics had 290 horse never mind 8 wheelers. The Foden with wife to be Annes name on the front set to work with a vengeance, faster journey times and the 18.5 ton payload meant that deliveries were revolutionised, larger cranes and magnets were bought to speed up the loading, deliveries and collections further afield undertaken, working coast to coast, and as far south as Birmingham.

The comfort of the carpeted S10 cab compared with the bare metal of the S21, with its stereo, heated everything, wipers that worked, but most of all the power meant that Mark was having the time of his life. The hours were long, up at 4.50am most days, always home for the night and usually dinner, if you were going further afield then you start earlier and still be back for dinner.

The 180 mile round trip to Fleetwood could be dispatched three times in a day, if needed, but what a day, 540 miles. The trip to Fleetwood could sometimes mean a race with R.J (Bob) Normans bonneted Macks from Barnsley, there was one forward control as well, a little faster than the others, bright orange and elaborately coach painted the Macks would fly, but they couldn’t catch the Foden uphill or down.

Saturday morning would mean a drive along the sea front at Blackpool for a change, with Anne along for the ride.

Marriage and twelve months later a baby daughter, Leigh, saw a baby seat bolted to the bonnet and history repeat itself, as everyday when possible Mark called home to collect Leigh, home being just outside the yard, Leigh went everywhere, sharing lunch or a pint of milk and currant pasty for an afternoon snack, disposable nappies stored behind the seat. Friends were made everywhere she went, disappearing into scrapyard offices as soon as she arrived.

Although the Rolls Royce behaved itself…. more or less, Schofields were never really comfortable with it, sounding rather like a box of nuts and bolts being shaken, anyway across at Patricroft L. Gardner had been busy. New engines had been developed including a 270bhp 6LXDT, looking very similar to the old Gardners there were high hopes from die hard Gardner users. The engine that caught Marks eye though was the 6LYT 320bhp and nearly 16 litres, a massive, indeed awesome engine to look at. With the help of Chris Draycott, the Pelican Engineering sales rep, Mark set about persuading dad and uncle George that this was the engine they needed. This vehicle though was to be no cancelled order, someone elses spec., B52 SUM delivered in May 1985 was built exactly as Schofields wanted it, alloy fuel tank, air horns, air suspended seat (heated as well) everything a driver could ask for. The driveline remained the same but with the addition of cross axle dif locks as well as the 3rd dif lock. The Foden 12′ chassis had been dropped in favour of a flitched high tensile 10′ channel, the width of the chassis was narrower as well, with Kenworth made aluminium cross members, even ali spring hangers, Foden rubber suspention, although not helping traction when empty or in the mud, was again chosen, extremely reliable, withstanding any amount of weight on the previous wagon, so no need to change. The cab was a vast improvement, no carpet, brown rubber with tan trimmings, much easier to clean, but still retaining the comfort. In went the baby seat, seat covers and cushions, home from home for the soon to be enlarged family. Huddersfield was to be a hot spot for 8 wheelers with 6LYTs, Schofields, Geoff Knight at Cumberworth and Rodney Howe at Marsden all ordering within weeks of each other, mention been made in Motor Transport at the time. Another new body from NMI with modifications where needed, the wagon was a beauty.

With the best part of 1000 16ft of torque at 800 revs the big Gardners pulling power was a dream, compare it to the caterpillar 350bhps, 550lb ft at the same revs and there was no comparison, so as the continental competition moved up to 290bhp the Foden kept Schofields ahead of the pack, again, top speed was nudging 80mph, from the drivers point of view it couldn’t get much better, from the owners point of view though things were different, fuel consumption was low, oil consumption though was a different matter, 1/2 gallon a day, a gallon for high mileage 38 tonners, head gaskets and indeed headbolts were prone to failure, the oil and fuel leakage common to the old Gardners with their metal to metal build and lack of gaskets, a thing of the past supposedly, again became a problem. For Schofields a trip to Gardners at around three months old sorted the head for good, it nearly finished it off though, on collecting the wagon, Mark thought it prudent to check the oil, it was two gallons short, on the way back through Manchester, an oily rag shoved behind the exhaust manifold by a Gardner fitter, burst into flames but fortunately dropped into the road harmlessly. The other problems remained, an annoyance, but not a major issue.

The speed with which deliveries could be completed was a constant source of irritation, surprisingly, for Carl. Having just nodded off in the kitchen easy chair with the newspaper across his chest and the radio on, the world at one presenter talking to himself, hoping for 40 winks after lunch, Mark would storm into the room, wanting indeed demanding, to be loaded again, obviously time for the daily row. ‘I wish I was loading you for China’ Carl would rant. Mark countering with ‘Drive your own bloody wagon but if you dont have me loaded by 2.00pm I wont get tipped in Bradford, pick up in Manchester and be back for 5.00pm then who will be moaning’. During the 80s and early 90s the 8 wheeler could be run like clockwork, a promise to be in Burnley at 3.00pm after a day darting here, there and everywhere, could be kept usually without a problem, one motorway hold up in a month was a bad month, although the deliveries were planned to avoid trouble spots at peak periods.

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