A high­way haven

Tar­cutta is a top stop for truck driv­ers, writes James Stan­ford

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Big Wheels -

VERY lit­tle hap­pens in most Aus­tralian coun­try towns at mid­night on Tues­days, but Tar­cutta is not your nor­mal coun­try town.

The NSW ham­let, about half­way be­tween Mel­bourne and Syd­ney on the Hume High­way, has a pop­u­la­tion of about 300 but it turns into a bustling truck city at night.

There is plenty of pass­ing trade dur­ing the day but it’s late at night that Tar­cutta comes alive as truck driv­ers work­ing Aus­tralia’s busiest road stop for a rest or swap trail­ers.

A storm passes through the night I visit but bad weather hasn’t made this place any qui­eter. I do a sur­vey of the main street and just af­ter mid­night there are 50 trucks parked in the cen­tre strip. There is also a pur­pose-built trailer swap area and there are 50-odd trucks in here as well.

A steady flow of trucks trun­dle through the main street at an av­er­age of four a minute.

I meet Jar­rod Cross com­ing out of the ser­vice sta­tion with a cof­fee. He runs Statewide Freight Man­age­ment and has driven from Mel- bourne with a load of mar­garine on the back of his In­ter­na­tional Ea­gle. In­stead of run­ning through, he is swap­ping trail­ers with Shaun Beck­ley who left Syd­ney with gen­eral pro­duce on his Mack Su­per­liner bound for Mel­bourne.

This way they can have their half-hour break and head for home.

Tar­cutta is the per­fect place to stop, Cross says. ‘‘This is pretty much ex­actly half­way so it makes sense to do the swap here,’’ he says.

‘‘You work out when you can get loaded, make sure you get enough rest for the log book and then you set off at about the same time.’’

The rain is get­ting worse so I head back to the main street and step into the Half­way Cafe. Cus­tomers are en­joy­ing the warm at­mos­phere and tuck­ing into their mid­night din­ners.

Caron Pin­cott has just taken over the busi­ness, which is open from 7am to 3am the next day.

She says truck driv­ers come here be­cause of the friendly staff and the proper meals, all of which are served with veg­eta­bles.

The cafe, as well as the rest of Tar­cutta, is fac­ing an un­cer­tain fu­ture with a by­pass due to take the high­way around the town from Septem­ber next year.

Tar­cutta is also home to the Aus­tralian Truck Driv­ers’ Me­mo­rial, which com­mem­o­rates driv­ers who lost their lives at work.

All change: many driv­ers swap their trail­ers in Tar­cutta and get a chance to head back home.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.