When I heard “Australian Road Train” I thought it was a train of 18 wheeled trucks, I didn’t realize that a road train was a single truck. On this trip I began seeing truck cabs pulling 3 and 4 trailers at a time, and these trucks were traveling along at over 70 miles per hour! I can only imagine that the braking distance for these rigs must be a kilometer or more before they could stop.
While I had the foresight to not pull out in front of one of these land trains, unfortunately the kangaroos don’t know the difference. We saw quite a few road critters that didn’t move away in time and it was obvious that they were hit by big trucks. Some of the trucks had kangaroo grills around the front so that the bumper and headlights won’t sustain any damage when they impact into the little marsupials at high speed.
Outside of Karijini we stopped at a gas station/cafe to purchase some (questionable) lunch. Outside in the parking lot were three or four of these road trains carrying anything from fuel and grain to groceries and huge drill bits for mining. When one of the trucks pulled out past our Wicked camper van, I caught a photo of it. This picture should give you an idea how long these trains are – this train was the cab plus four trailers and only 3 of them are visible in the photograph. I can’t imagine turning one of these around or backing up. I don’t think its possible – once a road train starts in one direction it isn’t going back for any reason unless it can find a 100 meter clearing to make a u-turn.
I can see the need for these road trains – everything out here is so spread out and only connected by roads – the trains are vital to move fuel, food and consumer goods. As expensive as everything is out here, I can only imagine how much more expensive it would be if good were moved in single or double trailer rigs. I don’t think that these would work in other countries. Only in the Outback with such wide open spaces and such a low population density could they travel safely.
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