New South Wales-based intermodal transport company, Ettamogah Rail Hub, takes safety seriously, turning to transport technology to protect its people
Ettamogah Rail Hub (ERH), an intermodal transport facility in New South Wales, has been servicing the Albury-Wodonga region since 2009. Part of Colin Rees’ umbrella company, Regional Connect, ERH encompasses a diverse grouping of tasks in addition to its rail operations.
As part of its road transport tasks, ERH sends a B-double combination on daily container runs between Albury and Melbourne, and the logistics company also performs local pickup and delivery operations in the border area between New South Wales and Victoria.
The local pickup and delivery fleet includes Volvo FM 500 prime movers supplied through CMV Truck & Bus that ERH Director, Cameron Jackson, chose for their safety technologies. “Safety is paramount – not only for our drivers and our clients, but also for the community,” says Cameron.
“While our primary focus is linehaul for rail freight, we also recognise that we have a responsibility to ensure that our road transport equipment and container cartage tasks are streamlined and as safe as possible. That’s why we use Volvo prime movers, Vawdrey trailers and SAF-Holland components to create a complete package with the highest levels of safety.”
The Volvo FM 500 prime movers feature automatic transmission and adaptive cruise control, which Cameron says means his drivers are better equipped to haul container freight – especially when traversing winding, hilly roads. Cameron says that his road transport equipment also features SAF-Holland’s lightweight axle and suspension system, SAF Intradisc plus Integral, which, unlike conventional brakes, is a two-piece brake disc that is manufactured in composite casting from different, specially matched materials, and designed for prolonged service life.
According to SAF-Holland, the integrated axle/suspension/braking package of the Intradisc plus Integral is the lowest tare weights available in the Australian market for disc brakes, leaving more weight space to carry cargo. ERH utilises SAF Intradisc with electronic braking systems (EBS) on its trailers, which is paired with the dynamic brakes of the Volvo prime movers.
“The weight savings from the SAF-Holland intra axles – combined with the performance gains from the brakes is simply incredible,” Cameron says. “With more efficient and safer equipment there is less wear on the gear, which we consider to be excellent value.”
The braking systems in the Volvo prime movers are also paired with the trailer’s intra axles and EBS for improved safety and driver comfort. “At ERH, we feel that combating driver fatigue is a community responsibility, which is why we invested in Volvo’s dynamic braking system that is compatible with SAF-Holland trailer upgrades,” Cameron says.
In a recent upgrade, the Volvo FM 500 prime movers have been fitted with SAF-Holland’s Remote Controlled Safety System (RECOSS), an electronic and integrated dash indicator that assists when checking coupling status between the trailer and the fifth wheel. The RECOSS technology uses three sensors to monitor the G36 fifth wheel and sends coupling information to an electronic Driver Information Display (DID), which the driver can see via the dash.
“RECOSS makes coupling faster and more convenient, where the process can be monitored from the cabin,” says Cameron. “When the fifth wheel is coupled properly, it reduces the risk of damaging the kingpin and the landing legs, and the trailer should always be coupled correctly. We still perform conventional tug tests, because it’s company policy to never become complacent. This upgrade allows our drivers to perform their duties more efficiently, and in a safer manner.”
Cameron also confirms that there is an important Occupational Health and Safety (OH&S) aspect to having the RECOSS installed in his Volvo prime movers. “SAF-Holland’s technology integration helps to reduce unnecessary manual labour associated with fifth wheel and coupling operations, minimising shoulder, arm and similar repetitive strain incidents.”
As one of the lightest disc brake combinations in the market, Cameron says that his team has maximised gross payload potential with the SAF Intradisc, which is so efficient that his fleet can haul greater loads. To maintain his position as a leader in container haulage in the Albury-Wodonga region of New South Wales, Cameron says it is responsibility to use the latest technologies to ensure his commercial road transport fleet are at the height of safety. “We have absolute confidence in the transport equipment that we use,” he says.
“Everything is balanced well and is spec’ed up, ensuring that we lead by example when it comes to safe and efficient road transport operations.
Ettamogah Rail Hub (ERH), has a strong partnership with Volvo and the CMV Truck & Bus dealership, according to ERH Director, Cameron Jackson. “Business these days can be hard paced and we forget about the foundations of success. Our relationship with CMV and Volvo is second to none,” he says.
A Fitting Tribute
Earlier this year, original staff member for Colin Rees and CRT Group, George Razumic – who worked until retirement – passed away.
“George was a true professional in everything he did, an amazing driver, and Colin Rees would say the best plastics discharge operator and driver of all time,” says ERH Director, Cameron Jackson.
“Once I learnt of his passing, I spoke to Dale Jackson at the CMV Truck & Bus dealership and asked that the NH prime mover they had restored and personalised for the Adelaide showroom be brought over and used in the funeral procession. Not only was it a fitting tribute to a man who loved his trucks, but it was also well-received by his family.”