Hello all you old timers,
I'm an old has been from the 1980's, who used to do International work in the mid to late 80's, doing mainly tilt work to and from Spain.
I call them "the good old days" when you had T-forms, CMR's, and trip permits, when you HAD TO stop at a border and do something.
The days when there where no mobile phones, sat-navs, laptops, and GPS to keep tabs on you, because you where the boss.
Remember the Truckline Ferries that used to run out of Poole & Cherburg with there truck lifts to the upper deck? and the food was crap? (MV Coultants, & MV Purbeck)
Remember the trucking companies no longer around the South Coast like- Scac International, Frans Maas, Interoute, British International, Pat Duffy, Kingswood, G B Express, R & A Freight, Pegusus, Comptons, Sts, and F. B. Atkins, who's trailers took up most of the parking area in Cherburg.
Remember places like Claudes, Victors, La junquera, Irun, Silla, Freds at Coslada, the Flaggs, Segunto, Villemmeia, Pluige at Valencia, (have forgotten her name) and Zona Franca, just to name but a few.
Remember when you could load Onions and Satsumas in tilts?
Remember when you paid 3,000 pesaters (£15) from the agents to get your T-forms?
Remember when you had a 'blow out' and there would be 4 to 5 trucks pulled up behind you and gave you a hand to change a wheel? and all at the cost of a few beers at the next stop.
I've spoken to a few 'newbe's' recently and none of them has ever herd of these places. There to busy getting there 're-load' details from a laptop, or the mobile phone.
I am sooooo glad I packed it all in when they opened all the borders, and done away with all the old TIR parks. You would never get to meet anyone now.
It would be nice to hear from anyone that worked for the above trucking firms in or around the late 80's to talk about them good old days.
Here's to the next 5,000 miles.
Old Continental truckers from the 1980's.
Ha Ha Ha bloody hell Keith you certainly see the past with rose tinted glasses mate.
I didn't work for any of the aforementioned companies but my "reign" across Europe
lasted from 79 til 99 and I ran with many of those people and stopped in those fine eating
I would have given my eye teeth for a lap top or cell phone back then instead of
stopping every 100 klicks to see if I had a reload yet.
One thing about clearing customs at least it was 5 hours guaranteed sleep you could
rely on. Zona Franca....what a dump.....and we paid for the honor of having to go in there!
I don't want to revisit the truck drivers strikes in Italy......the customs officers strikes in Italy..
they were bad and always seemed to happen when there was a foot of snow on the ground.
Then the seaman strikes in France...the drivers blockades in France.
But notwithstanding any of those horrible thoughts I would turn back time and do it again!
Hi Col, Thanks for the reply. I thought that I might have had a few more replies on this thread, but I guess that my glasses are too strongly rose tinted as you suggested to try and glamourise what was a hard job at the time, but those memories are all I have to hang on to these days, as the international transport as well as the UK transport industry is not a good place to be. I am currently obtaining my drivers CPC, being instructed by a 22 year old "dick head" on how to do a job I've being doing for 31 years, even though I already have a national CPC that I got when I was an owner/driver, but I guess our hard pressed government needs to take even more money from our already hard stretched industry. I have also been stuck in customs strikes, ferry strikes, and even a very angry Spanish farmers strike, where one French tanker driver was killed, and several more was injured during violant clashes on the top of La junquera, because of the French trying to flood the Spanish milk market with cheap French milk. I have also been stranded in places with little, or no money, have been robbed, have had breakdowns, (trucks and trailers, - not me personally) have been in several scraps with "bolshy" German drivers, and have been locked up by the police (red berries) for illiegal driving in Spain, but, like you, I would do it all over again if I had half the chance.....
Keith its a breath of fresh air to read your thread......I'm going to guess the red berries are those fine
bothers of law enforcement that govern the Basque region. I remember late one Saturday night they
positioned tanks in a staggered formation on the motorway somewhere East of Bilbao and slowed us down to a crawl
as we meandered around them. All the time they were checking under the vehicle for "hangers on". I guess
Saturday night was alright for fighting between ETA and the Basque authorities.
I have a million tales of interest (in my eyes) that I bore my kids with on a daily basis. My children are all
American kids and I think just smile and pretend to listen to apease me.
I don't care, we know what we really did )
Aaaah yes.... I remember ETA. I got off the ferry at Cherbourg one Monday morning ready for a 'one hit' down to Irun, where I was clearing customs. Got there about 12.30 that night, managed to find a parking place in the old TIR park, by the Hendaye border, and stuffed my papers under he Frans Maas door, then got my head down ready for a lie in in the morning. About 4.30am, I was woken by what can only be described as 'world war three' kicking off, and the gun fire and the tracer shells went on to about 6.30am, then it all went a bit quiater. I guess them old ETA boys decided to give the old red berries a bit of seriouse jip that night. It buggered up my plans though, as all the roads were closed all that day, and us truckers got told to "stay put" But at least 'Spanish Tony' done allright out of it, he had free coffee-con-lache's all bloody day, as there was about 200 drivers stuck there. From what I remember, that was a bit of a '####' trip as loads of things went wrong. Had a puncture on the unit at Burgos on the way down to Madrid. The truck boiled up going up over the Somme sierra. Had to wait a whole day for re-load details. Got fined for illegal parking at Victors on the way back. Then got fined 900ff at Cherbourg by 'Pinochio' for running a little bit 'bent' (well - 5 hours bent to be fair) So, all in all, I think that was the '####tiest' trip I done....HAPPY DAYS THOUGH....
Hi Ben, Good to hear from you, and glad your retirement is going O.K. but be careful, as the diesel in your veins could become blood!!!
Yes, I do remember Tilly's at El-puig, a typical Yorkshire woman that always had a big white juicy spot, right in the middle of her back. Every time she turned around, everybody else ducked behind the counter, just in case it bursted. But she always used to look after us regulars on the Spanish run, especially if you took a case of Heinz baked beans, or a pack of HP sauce with you now and again. Can't say that I can remember the potato soup at Victors though, as I would only eat the steaks there, as they done them just right for me. The only potato soup I would have had would have been at Fred's, in Coslada, near the airport in Madrid. He used to serve it as a starter, but by the time you have eaten it, there was no room for the main course. Nice bloke was Fred, helped me out a couple of times. I don't know what happened to Tony at Claudes, haven't been near there for over 20 years. The last I heard was that there is a new weight limit on that stretch, so the wagons don't go in there anymore. I got told that Spanish Tony in Irun died several years ago, but I haven't heard any news from the Iberian run for a long time, but I suppose Irun would be a cheap night out now that Spanish Tony has gone!!!!
I just came across you posts by accident, I remember all those places, did some work for Mondial Forwarding to Greece, terrible run, then I used to work from Ireland to Spain in the mid 80's, clearing in Irun and going mainly to Zaragosa area, sometimes Madrid. I remember Tony in Irun. I was an owner driver I moved to Irun with my family as I spent most of my time there, my kids went to school there. I hauled a lot for Gimex in Pamplona to everywhere, I had one of those 'Pink' Books for EU haulage then a 'Green' book for EU + ECMT countries.
I was in France recently on holiday and stopped in the big routiers (Routiers in the Field) at Vivonne, about 20 minutes south of Poitiers on the N10, it used to be packed back in the day, now there was about 10 people eating, the food was not as good as I remember it.
The few old bars at the Border in Irun and Behobia are still there, everything else is gone.
I wrote a blog about a recent trip down memory lane in an electric car.
Who's taking the (electric) car to France (and Spain)