Watch yourself if you see these trucks coming down the road. The Australian road trains are the world’s longest truck and trailer configurations. These massive machines haul freight in the Australia Outback and are relied upon to supply the remote Outback towns.
There are many configurations and regulations (shown below) of a road train, and other than the increase in weight and cargo as the train gets larger, the number of wheels increases. In configuration (A) below, the number of wheels of the road train is 34, up to the (H) configuration, which is an astounding 74 wheels. The (K) configuration is a special case, limited to the Granites Gold Mine in Northern Territory, Australia. They are know as “Power Trains” and have a 600 hp diesel engine in the truck with another 400 hp diesel engine in the rear trailer. These only operate on private land and have a whopping 130 wheels. That’s a lot of tires to change.
The configurations allowed for Australian road trains Sted904/Wikimedia
The huge bars seen on the front of these road train trucks are called bullbars. Since these machines can’t stop very quickly, the bars are there to save the truck from damage. In addition to dealing with animals that are in the wrong place at the wrong time, the road trains must contend with scorching heat, getting stuck in the mud during the rainy season, brush fires, and extremely long distances, just to name a few of the problems. Despite all this, they haul any type of cargo imaginable, from livestock and fuel to ore, supplies, and machinery.
There has been one time when a road train dwarfed all others. The world record for the longest road train was set in 2006 in Clifton, Queensland, Australia. It measured 4,836 feet, 11 inches, and was made up of 112 trailers. It was driven 100 meters (109 yards), a little over the length of a football field.