MDH Haulage adds new conventional for B-double taskBy: Prime Mover Magazine Specialising in coal haulage from the mines at Gunnedah in New South Wales, MDH Haulage recently commissioned a new 600hp conventional prime mover to pull a B-double combination. It’s the third Western Star delivered to the business by Double R Trucks in Tamworth. The company was formed seven years ago by husband-and-wife team Mark and Darlene Hall with a rigid tipper and three-axle dog which Mark drove himself while Darlene managed the administration side of the business. The business quickly grew and today comprises four truck and quad-dog combinations, a truck and three-axle super-dog, an A-double roadtrain and a B-double combination. Around 85 per cent of the business involves hauling Gunnedah coal to some 23 customers at destinations in NSW ranging from Grafton on the north coast to Bomaderry on the south coast and Oberon in the central west. MDH Haulage purchased its first new Western Star 4864FXB around three years ago. It was equipped with a Sloanebuilt aluminium tipper body and pulls a quad-dog trailer. The second new unit is a prime mover that is hitched to an A-double while the latest acquisition hauls the B-double combination. In common with the first two, the new unit is a 4864FXB sporting an X15 Cummins delivering 600hp and 2,050lb/ft of torque, linked with an 18-speed manual Roadranger box feeding into Meritor diffs with a 4.3:1 ratio riding on 46,000lb AirLiner suspension. The sleeper cab is fitted with a Coolabah electric air conditioning and heating unit. According to Mark Hall, Western Star trucks are an ideal fit for their business. “They’re a good, big, strong truck with 40” bunks that provide plenty of space inside,” said Hall. “Some of the roads we go on are not the best, so we need durable, reliable and comfortable trucks. You can sit in the Western Star and do 1,000km a day and still feel as good as gold. “I also prefer Cummins engines for their reliability and pulling power, which is why all three of our Western Stars are 600hp Cummins powered,” said Hall – adding that they do it easy pulling the A- and B-double combinations which have Gross Combination Masses (GCM) of 74.5 and 68.5 tonnes respectively. Hall said he’s happy with the fuel economy of the Cummins engines, with the Western Star tipper and quad-dog unit averaging around 2.0km/l (5.65mpg) loaded to a GCM of 57.5 tonnes. He added that another advantage of having Cummins engines is that it’s easier to find people who possess the necessary skills to work on them in regional areas such as Gunnedah.