We were talking road trains. James asked: “Have you ever tried driving past one of those Australian trains? Slipstream is not the word.” Yup, the Aussie ones I know well. Avoid is the best description I know:
Those SA Railways Ultra Pacifics are slightly different, because while they are road vehicles they are absolutely enormous. The largest on-road trucks in the world [Dark Roasted]. South African Road Transport Warriors:
Remember that SA uses narrow gauge on the railways, so it not possible to transport big loads via rail. The curves are too tight and the inclines too steep etc. plus the distances are enormous.
- 370 ton Siemens generator with a gross combination load of 860 tons
- Five Ultra Pacific trucks in one line, producing 4000hp.
- Total length 160m.
- The heaviest load transported: 950 ton (a tunnel boring machine)
- They also have the largest trailer (with no less than 338 wheels).
I was driving down Biccard St. in Johannesburg many years ago, a 4 or 5 lines one way street downhill, looking for parking, when I heard a SERIOUS diesel behind me (800hp engines will do that..). I looked in my rear-view mirror and all I could see was the bottom of the front bumper of this ‘thing’ coming down the road behind me.
I’d never seen anything like it on the road. Ever. I hit the brakes and watched it barrel past at a rate of knots. It was just the Ultra-Pacific tractor, no load, so it was moving. It turned left into Smit St and disappeared, but to give an idea of scale, Jhb at the time used electric trolley buses extensively.
The Ultra-Pacific fitted under the trolley bus wires by a couple of feet…..