Britain’s last commercially-operated fleet of Leyland Constructor tippers have been officially retired from front line duty at Tilbury ‘B’ Power Station in Essex. But wait, do we hear a curtain call of a different kind? Mike Humble shares an update…
After 17 years of hard graft Tony Gothard’s Leyland’s next stop wont be the scrap
dealer – they’re heading for the silver screen.
Having just come off the telephone to my good mate and mukka Tony Gothard and exchanged Christmas sentiments, it’s with a twinge of sadness that I have to report that the last fleet of Leyland tippers commercially operating in Britain has now been retired from duty.
Once the backbone of the tipper division within his demolition and land reclamation business, Tony placed the best of his Constructor 8 T45 Leylands on an arduous ash tipping contract when he mothballed the tipper hire side of the company. The skyline of Tilbury in Essex is graced with the huge chimneys of the now closed 1500 megawatt Tilbury ‘B’ Power Station. It was here that his Trojan trucks continued to ply their trade and, despite the plant being switched off in 2013, the trucks have since been operating on a clear-up basis.
Despite trying out rival vehicles, Tony claimed the Leyland Constructor couldn’t be
beaten for his type of work. He claims the Cummins L10 / Spicer driveline combination
was nigh on unbreakable when it came to round-the-clock, off-road operation.
Operating 24 hours a day for over seventeen years, the trucks have more than earned their keep and, despite his hard-as-nails demeanour, Tony has a definite affection for them – woe betide anyone who pokes fun or disrespects them. He once told me over a mug of builder’s tea that they had been so good to him over the years that he was going to be good to them come the day they stopped working. His expansive yards are crammed full of Leylands and possibly more spare engines or components than Multipart ever stocked at its huge Chorley warehouse in Leyland’s heyday.
But, to excuse the pun, his trucks are by no means surplus to requirements. You may recall that, as a result of articles featured right here, an American-based production company is looking to create a movie based on East London rival hauliers set in the late-1980s/early-1990s using as many of the trucks as can be cosmetically restored to running order. Some test filming has already gone ahead and filming is scheduled to start in June 2016.
Tilbury ‘B’ was opened in 1967 by the CEGB and has been the home for a hard-grafting
fleet of British trucks for the past 17 years. That’s all finished now and demolition
has already commenced.
Demolition has now begun on the site which once consumed up to 4000 tons of coal daily and generated the electricity for over three quarters of the population Essex – roughly 1.5 million people. The trucks which were all bought secondhand from RMC Roadstone have now been placed in storage or moved to Gothard’s engineering base with a view to mechanical and cosmetic restoration. However, some of them are in a pretty sorry state, but two are very rare Gardner 6LXCT-powered models – a pair of only 200 produced in 1984 which are to be kept and completely restored to full glory.
But it gets better as AROnline has an active part to play. It looks like the film project is going ahead and yours truly has been asked to be one of the extras in the movie, bagging a part as one of the drivers – I knew my HGV licence would come into good use one day! We’ll no doubt be catching up with Tony in the New Year so watch this space for updates.