Nightingale Transport is justifiably proud of having the skills base to handle over-dimensional and unusual load configurations where others have moved away from the art of roping and sheeting.
Some three years ago, in October 2014, PowerTorque visited Glenn Nightingale of Nightingale Transport to profile how the company had been able to grow its business at a time when other transport companies were experiencing a contraction of the industry and finding it harder to encourage new business.
The distinctive pale blue livery of the Nightingale Transport fleet stands out on the highway, making identification easy as they crest an approaching hill. At the time of our visit the company operated 17 prime movers in the fleet and could be differentiated by the fact that, with the exception of one of the company’s four B-double sets, all the remaining 23 trailers were flat tops.
Now, in 2017, PowerTorque’s Warren Caves revisited the Nightingale Transport operation to review how in a transport society where curtainsiders and fridge vans have become the common denominator on our roads, finding a fleet that retains the skill set of roping and sheeting loads carried on flat tops is itself a rarity.
It’s this expertise in the industry that has driven the company growth today. Established in 1994, with one Volvo of questionable reliability, Nightingales now employs 31 staff and operates a fleet of 21 prime movers and 38 trailers, all of which are flat tops.
“Our entire fleet is set up to carry any product, sufficient to ensure the safe transportation of the goods carried,” said Glenn Nightingale. “This includes the securing and appropriate weather protection of the load – pipe frames, dunnage, dogs and chains, purpose made tarps, rubber-lined timbers and general equipment,” he added.
The company is based in Jimboomba, Queensland, and recently inducted into its fleet a T409 SAR. PowerTorque caught up with company director Glenn Nightingale at his Jimboomba acreage property for our photo shoot and to tell us more about his latest Kenworth acquisition.
“We run a mixed fleet comprising Kenworth, Western Star and Freightliner, and about 18 months ago opened a new main depot in Unanderra, NSW, to service our clients’ needs,” said Glenn.
“Our trucks don’t necessarily have any set runs, and travel all over the country with drivers going away at times for up to two weeks.
“We do have some semi-regular work carting potatoes when in season out of Atherton, Queensland, to markets on flat top trailers on pallets. The growers prefer the potatoes transported this way, under tarp, as they breathe better and don’t sweat, thereby arriving to markets in better condition. We have been transporting for some growers for 20 years,” explained Glenn.
The T409 was purchased through Brown and Hurley at Yatala, whom Glenn says, “Are really good people to deal with”.
“Our Kenworths are ordered and then sent direct from Bayswater to Rocklea Truck and Electrical where Brock and his team have the truck for about a week fitting up the bulk of the accessories,” said Glenn.
A couple of years ago, Glenn decided to modernise the fleet design and this is reflected on the T409, with Damian Gibbs of Master Art Designs based in Caboolture having completed all the line and scroll work for Nightingales.
The personalisation and accessory fitment list is comprehensive and includes, a Whitlock polished alloy bullbar, which provides the perfect home for the Lightforce LED spot lights and the ten orange marker lamps mounted in the lower skirt. The main beam headlights are also LEDs. There are elephant ear stainless steel deflectors around the air cleaners, a stainless steel drop visor to the roof and seven-inch exhaust stacks, with laser cut “Nightingales” shrouds standing upright and proud.
Within the cab the creature comforts include an Isotherm fridge, a television and a Sleeper Air NXT cabin cooler, to ensure a bit of R&R and a good night’s sleep after a long day in the saddle.
Down the back there are, stainless steel drive guards and polished propeller design belly plates.
The T409 has a fuel carrying capacity of around 2000 litres, which at the average fuel consumption Glenn stated was achieving of 2.1-2.2 km/l. This figure would allow a range of around 4000 km between fills and negates the need to fuel up at remote locations in favour of refuelling at larger centres at lower cost.
Nestled between the painted fuel tanks on either side, you would be forgiven for not being able to spot the battery box on the N/S and the AdBlue tank on the O/S. These have been tastefully blended behind colour-coded covers to maintain sleek lines down both sides of the vehicle. The battery box cover is even fitted with dummy fuel tank straps to give the illusion of another small tank being fitted. The only give away for the AdBlue tank is the telltale blue cap protruding from behind the covered tank.
At the time we caught up, the Kenworth was showing 110,000 km on the clock with about five months on the highway and is running an ISX e5 Cummins engine at 550 horsepower with an 18-speed manual Roadranger gearbox on single trailer work. The fuel economy figures previously mentioned are based on predominantly full weight running all the time. These are respectable figures and some improvement may be seen when the engine settles in a bit more.
It’s great to see fleet operators investing so much time and money in truck presentation, and equally great to see drivers displaying the pride for the vehicles they drive. Good presentation and pride of equipment promotes a professional image to the public and I’m sure we can all agree that this is good for our industry, and Nightingales is certainly promoting this culture with impeccable examples such as this T409 SAR.