Bigger gear the key to success in earthmoving

By: Steve Skinner, Photography by: Jonathan Wood

Victorian quarry transport operator favours larger truck combinations and diggers, but a smaller client base.

Bigger gear the key to success in earthmoving
Shaun Walsh with his Mack Trident and Lusty EMS stag tipper set.


Even though Shaun Walsh is only in his mid-30s, he’s already a Mack veteran of more than two decades’ standing.

At the age of 13 Walsh was driving his father’s R model around the family trucking and machinery yard, and by 14 he was working it on private roads.

That 1978 R model was the first new truck his father, Kelvin, ever owned – and it’s still going strong for Walsh Earthmoving at Wodonga on the New South Wales-Victorian border.

Shaun Walsh is managing director of and a partner in the family business but he’s also got a sideline business of his own, involving several trucks and trailers.

The flagship of Walsh’s personal fleet is a Mack Trident, with a 13-litre MP8 535hp (393kW) engine and 12-speed m-Drive automated manual gearbox. Its bread and butter is working for the wider family business.

Walsh says the Trident has spent a lot of time in Victorian high country, and "the way the engine makes its power for a 535(hp) running nearly 60 tonnes in the hills, it fair cracks – it goes really well".

Regular work has ranged from carting products from the company quarry just north of Albury to a government depot construction job in the Victorian Alps; to tipper work for a local sales yards construction job; to "heavy-heavy" haulage with a float and dolly, with the Trident rated to 70 tonnes.

The Trident’s matching Lusty EMS Stag tipper trailers enable the short bonneted prime mover with set forward axle and 36-inch sleeper and trailers to fit into the 19 metre "pocket" B-double envelope, while still grossing 56.5 tonnes with 36.5 tonnes payload.

That’s a lot more payload than the Trident would be able to pull as a typical truck and dog.

The long A-trailer is hooked up to the prime mover turntable, with the short B-trailer connected by a drawbar. They tip in the same fashion as a conventional truck and dog.

Not only do they enable more weight when combined, but the A-trailer alone as a semi tipper can carry 25 tonnes if tight access is an issue and the set can be quickly unhooked if you want to use the prime mover for something else.

Walsh says the downsides compared with a truck and dog become evident in tight access areas in town and in boggy conditions.

He says the new 19m B-double combination – as well as a Performance Based Standards-approved quad dog being pulled behind a 904 Kenworth – is part of a company strategy of using bigger trucks (mostly Macks and Kenworths) and bigger earthmoving machinery, with similar fuel burn and less staff.

Walsh Earthmoving has also reduced its client base to "just our core clients, doing just quality work – the work that we enjoy."

ATN visited Shaun Walsh courtesy of Mack. Check out more about him in the current issue of ATN.

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