A pocket road train is simply a shortened version of a standard two trailer road train which operate in most regional areas of Western Australia. A standard road train can operate up to a total combined length of 36.5 metres, however for operations within the majority of the Southwest, this length has been limited by regulation to 27.5 metres, hence the term “Pocket” road train.
Amongst other changes, South West Express has the wheel bases to our Scania prime movers shortened pre-delivery, which enables South West Express to run a 16 and 20 pallet trailer combination whilst still remain compliant with this 27.5 metre total length requirement. Together totalling 36 pallet spaces in this combination, South West Express gains an extra 2 pallet space capacity over the traditional B-Double (a 5.9% productivity improvement). In addition to this, the pocket road trains deliver an increased load capacity of around 10 tonne per unit in comparison to the traditional 34 pallet B-Double, due to the additional of two extra axles.
This combination of different trailer capacities (16 & 20) is also more compatible to the differing individual store loads volumes that (with planning), has significantly reduced
The previous requirement to perform double drops to stores each day. Unlike a B-Double, both trailers in our pocket road train combinations are completely interchangeable from dog to lead trailer, giving South West Express even greater flexibility in service provision. Due to less moving parts, such as the required load sliding mechanism on a B-Double, the pocket road trains operate on a lower trailer tare weight. Additional to this, the pocket road trains track significantly better when cornering causing less wear and tear on suspension systems and tyres. These facts significantly enhance the longevity of the equipment and reduce their overall operational costs, producing savings that South West Express can then pass onto our customers.
Another unique benefit to this configuration is the ability to incorporate a 12 pallet sliding B-Double trailer, either at the front or in-between the two pocket road train trailers, for use on routs which cater for 36.5 meter application. This configuration is termed a C train and increases the capacity to 48 pallets. This ability provides for 3 separate trailers catering for 7 temperature zones in one truck movement. This has many advantages including the ability to cater for seasonal volume spike increases. Which minimises the use of extra prime movers requiring additional staff or sub-contractors.
In 2008, it was recognised that some pocket road train combinations in WA, posed on road stability issues due to inconsistent spacing’s between front axle of the lead trailer and rear axles of the converter dolly. Main Roads at the time gave notice that all pocket road trains needed to modify and comply with a minimum of 8 meters between triaxle lead trailer and a bogie axle converter dolly. In most cases this would have increased to overall length to greater than 27.5 meters. Subsequent to industry consultation this requirement was shelved due to the onerous consequences of potentially grounding several hundred pocket road trains servicing the South West of WA. South West Express has been proactive in developing spread axle dollies and 16 pallet bogie axle trailers which comply with the proposed dimensions increasing from the standard 1200mm spread to 2000mm. As a consequence SWE has not only noticed massive increases in stability but is also well prepared for any future Main Roads requirements which may pose a dimensional noncompliance.
South West Express 7 temperature Zone C train Ready for action
Through processes of careful engineering and consultation, South West Express has been able to adjust the positioning of trailer kingpins, modify the positioning and spacing’s of individual axles, axle groups and wheel bases, in order to comply with these regulatory requirements. Through these processes South West Express has been able to achieve these desired load capacity outcomes, whilst remaining within the required 27.5 metres overall combination length.
South West Express was the first refrigerated transport company to commission 36 pallet Pantechnicon pocket road train combinations in Western Australia. This is due to our understanding of, and preparedness to work within, the guide lines set by the Western Australian Departments of Main Roads and the Western Australian Department of Planning and Infrastructure.