Its transport fleet has to confirm to a maximum of 16ft (4.8m) overall height when loaded, which proved problematic. But Volvo had the solution, says Beamish managing director Darrin Pickering – and he also points to extraordinary longevity with previous Volvo vehicles purchased in the late 1990s.
“We bought two high mileage FH tractor units, one of which had two million kilometres on the clock. Both trucks delivered sterling service over six years here and I believe one is still working in Cyprus.”
Beamish now operates 11 Volvo FM tractors and six Volvo FH rigids. The FM 6x2 prime movers operate at 44 tonnes and are fitted with Belle Rolfo transporter bodywork that can accommodate a maximum of 11 cars.
The preferred engine size is the six-cylinder D13K; the firm’s standard specification also includes Volvo’s I-Shift automated gearbox with I-See. The FM’s optional low sleeper cab enables a car to be transported above the driver, while an air-suspended middle axle saves nearly a tonne on the combination’s unladen weight.
Six Volvo FH 4x2 rigid chassis also play a key role in Beamish Transport’s nationwide caravan, motorhome and van distribution networks. Used in combination with drawbar trailers, the FH’s Rolfo Venus bodywork on the 5600mm chassis can also be altered to carry six cars on a return trip.
These are specified with the 460bhp variant of the D13K engine, as well as Globetrotter XL cabs and I-See with the gearboxes. “Most of our Volvo Trucks work seven days a week, via two drivers on a four days on, four days off, rota,” says Pickering.
“We always include a fridge and the Drive trim option in our Volvo specifications. The in-service performance levels of both the FM and FH trucks have been superb, while driver feedback is also good,” he adds.
All the company’s Volvos were supplied by Volvo Truck and Bus Centre North & Scotland at Washington.
Beamish plans to keep its latest vehicles in service for eight years.