Making a truck say ‘Choo-choo!’

| December 12, 2008

The next time you’re tempted to complain about a heavy load, think of John Atkinson. The Brisbane, Australia, trucker recently broke his own world record for pulling the longest road train ever assembled for a single truck: 113 loaded trailers stretching nearly a mile, with a gross weight of 2.87 million pounds.

That’s more than 7 times the weight rating of Atkinson’s Mack Titan XHD, an 8×6 with three drive axles. Atkinson, 70, pulled the load more than 328 feet before a crowd of 8,000 people.

The engine was a 650-hp Cummins Signature; the tractor tires were Michelins.


THIS MOVIE TRUCKER IS A GOOD GUY
A 1985 Superliner named, of course, Mack has been “cast” in this summer’s Disney/Pixar animated feature Cars. According to the movie press kit, loyal Mack hauls the “lavish bachelor pad” of the movie’s protagonist, hotshot racer Lightning McQueen (a nod to the late Steve).

Mack is voiced by John Ratzenberger, who played loudmouth mailman Cliff on Cheers. Celebrity automotive voices in the movie include Car Talk radio hosts Tom and Ray Magliozzi and racing legends Richard Petty, Darrell Waltrip and Paul Newman – who, we’re told, actually has previous acting experience.


IN KANSAS CITY, 700 FEET OF ENGLAND
The planned Front Street approach to I-435 in downtown Kansas City, Mo., will make people drive on the left side of the road, like the English, as oncoming traffic whizzes past on the right. To be completed in 2007, the switcheroo will last only about 700 feet, and a concrete median with glare screens should make it less disconcerting. The only option, engineers say, would be to require people to turn left in front of oncoming traffic, the way all those other U.S. intersections do.


WHERE HAS HE BEEN?
“Trucks oftentimes set the speed of the road, yet I have never seen a trucker ticketed for speeding.”
- Columnist Robert Kelly in The Salem News in Massachusetts

HANDS OFF, BUDDY!
“Is there life after death? Touch a cowboy’s truck and find out!”
- Bumper sticker spotted in Northport, Ala.

FUNNY HOW OIL SLIPS AWAY
“Several months ago, the president told us we were addicted to oil. I know I’ve been addicted to many things, but I didn’t know oil was one of them.”
- Willie Nelson promotes BioWillie biodiesel in Carl’s Corner, Texas


Have something for Channel 19?
Send it to Andy Duncan, Overdrive, P.O. Box 3187, Tuscaloosa, AL 35403 or aduncan@rrpub.com. You’ll get an Overdrive tag if your item is published.

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