Owner’s never looked back

Big Rigs - - NEWS -

own busi­ness.

“My first in­ter­state truck was a 290hp Ken­worth. It was big then and it was all ropes and gates and hand load­ing and tarps. Sadly, that’s a lost art in many ways now. The first truck I owned was a Ford LTS Louisville with a 365 Cum­mins in it. It came with a bit of work and we just built from that,” Graeme said.

But now it’s all Ken­worths, with 600hp Cum­mins and 18-speeds, pulling B-dou­ble cur­tain­sider Krueger mez­za­nine decks at up about 60 tonnes.

All the Ken­worths are well main­tained us­ing the ser­vices of neigh­bour­ing Irons Auto Re­pairs, which is owned and op­er­ated by Gary Irons, who Graeme went through school with.

“The trucks go over the pits ev­ery year as I’m not a big fan of the main­te­nance man­age­ment scheme,” Graeme said.

❝about

It’s all re­spect for our driv­ers and the work they do.

— Graeme Ni­chol­son

“I’m happy if they find a prob­lem, it’s only hap­pened once in about 20 years, but I want to know if there’s an is­sue with one of our ve­hi­cles.

“If any­thing at all needs do­ing, we get it done straight away be­cause that lit­tle thing if left will de­velop into some­thing big­ger that is go­ing to let you down some­where out on the road, and I end up get­ting a phone call at 2am in the morn­ing say­ing some­thing is bro­ken.

“There’s a lot at stake out there on the road, but I know our trucks are as well main­tained as the best of them.”

Ni­chol­son and Page mostly run the east coast to Mel­bourne, Syd­ney, Brisbane, some­times Ade­laide, some­times Cairns. But the ma­jor­ity of their work is east coast, with reg­u­lar runs haul­ing gen­eral and food­stuffs.

“It takes a lot of or­gan­is­ing and a lot of work, but I like to make sure that they all get away early.”

It was af­ter 9am on a Mon­day when Big Rigs talked to Graeme Ni­chol­son.

“They are all out of Syd­ney now,” he said.

“That way they have max­i­mum time to, say, get to Brisbane or Mel­bourne that night. They’ll go straight to bed and then un­load in the morn­ing.”

Each truck runs about 200,000-250,000km a year and at around the one mil­lion kilo­me­tre or five-year mark, each is re­placed. Ken­worth num­ber 30, another big cab K200, has re­cently joined the fleet.

A lot needs to change in the in­dus­try, Graeme says, and he knows not every­one agrees with his views.

But with eight mil­lion kilo­me­tres or so on the road, he cer­tainly speaks from ex­pe­ri­ence.

PHO­TOS: GRAEME NI­CHOL­SON

ALL ABOARD: The seven-truck fleet is all Ken­worth, four are cabovers, two SARs and a 409.

Ni­chol­son and Page In­ter­state Haulage rigs at home.

Ni­chol­son and Page mostly runs the east coast.

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