Engineering and construction specialist Murphy Plant has bought three Volvo FH-540 6x4 tractor units, all rated at 80-tonnes, for its Golborne depot, near Greater Manchester, UK.

The 13-litre Tandem Axle Lift tractor units will be used on the construction of HS2 – a high-speed railway that will directly link London, Birmingham, the East Midlands, Leeds and Manchester.

According to Volvo, heavy haulage work is easier with a double drive tractor as this configuration gives improved traction, but the down side is a dip in fuel consumption; Volvo said its Tandem Axle Lift enables operators to eliminate this issue. Michael Eden, logistics supervisor at Murphy Plant, explains further, “Volvo is the only manufacturer who can supply a driving tag axle, and that suits our current job perfectly. In the past we’ve tried a simple tag and single drive, but it was taking too much weight off the drive axle, the result being wheel spin when pulling away. This solution is a nice bit of a kit: it’s nice to have the twin drive when we’re loaded, then the fuel economy when we’re not.

“We’ll be using the trucks for road-railers mainly. These run at around 40-tonnes apiece on our Nooteboom specialist trailers. My drivers tell me they’re pulling well. They’re also very comfortable, well equipped and, I believe, one of the best-looking trucks on the market.”

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