PETER GORDON – TRAILWAYS FOUNDER AND PRINCIPAL
“My preference for Cat engines is one hundred percent because they’re just one hundred percent reliable.”
“There’s no doubt the Cat trucks are better on fuel and as far as I’m concerned, that’s totally due to the better aerodynamics of the truck.”
“The next new trucks will be Cats, too. For sure!”
Industry Local, intrastate and interstate freight movements
In Business 16 years
Such is his high regard for the reliability and efficiency of Cat® truck engines, that if Brisbane-based fleet owner Peter Gordon had his way, every heavy-duty truck on the market would offer a Cat engine.
“My preference for Cat engines is one hundred percent because they’re just one hundred percent reliable,” he says earnestly.
Consequently, with his esteem for Cat power so deeply ingrained after more than 40 years of a road haulage career spanning both sides of the Tasman, Peter concedes it was inevitable that he would ultimately buy at least a couple of Cat trucks.
In fact, the New Zealander who moved to Australia more than 20 years ago and eventually became the founder and principal of diverse trucking business Trailways, admits his 2012 decision to buy two new Cat CT630 models from the Hastings Deering dealership in Brisbane was initially, “More about the engine than the truck.”
Now, however, more than two years and 500,000 km after each truck went to work, Peter insists the extended cab CT630s with 550 hp Cat C15 engines have even further entrenched his respect for Cat product.
Reliability is where the Cats come into the picture
“I knew I could expect reliability and good performance from the engines but seriously, these trucks have completely surprised and impressed me in many ways,” he asserts. “And in ways I could not have imagined.”
As Peter explained, even the misfortune of a severe accident when one of the trucks was just a year old highlighted an unexpected yet exceptional attribute of Cat trucks. “Fortunately no one was hurt in the accident but the truck suffered a great deal of damage and I honestly thought it would be written off by the insurance company.
“The thing is though, it was able to be completely rebuilt from the chassis up purely because the parts prices were so affordable. Given the amount of damage, that definitely surprised me.”
Now, more than a year after the accident, Peter adds, “The truck has run as good as new since the rebuild and while we’d all prefer to live without accidents, the thing that still stands out is the low cost of Cat’s parts prices compared to other makes. It’s a major asset, for sure.”
So, too, is fuel efficiency a notable asset of Cat trucks according to Peter Gordon. “There’s no doubt the Cat trucks are better on fuel than other Catpowered brands we operate,” he comments, “and as far as I’m concerned, that’s totally due to the better aerodynamics of the truck.”
Trailways is a transport business owned and operated by Peter and wife Shirley from a depot at Brendale on Brisbane’s north side. Sons Kearan and Brad are also heavily involved in the business but as Peter emphasises, “Shirley is definitely the kingpin of the operation because I still spend plenty of time away driving.
“For me, it’s the only way to know what’s really happening out on the road and besides, there’s nothing like face-to-face contact with your customers.”
These days there are more than 30 trucks in the fleet, ranging from four-tonne rigids to a mix of cab-over and conventional prime movers covering roadtrain, B-triple, B-double and single trailer applications. Most of the workload is along the eastern seaboard from Melbourne to Cairns but also across the country to Adelaide and Perth.
“Reliability is where the Cats come into the picture,” he continues. “Cat engines have been incredibly reliable but the Cat trucks are also doing everything right. Other than the time one of the trucks was off the road after the accident, downtime has been next to nothing.”
Explaining that his Cat trucks haul from Brisbane to Queensland’s far north on dedicated runs for specialist courier company Fastway, one unit towing a drop-deck single trailer and the other a curtain-sided B-double combination, he insists the onus on reliability notches up to new levels when it comes to courier freight.
“People send something by courier to make sure it gets there on time, so a truck sitting on the side of the road with a problem can’t be tolerated. At least, not for long. Not in this job,” he says firmly. “Again, the Cats have been good to us because anywhere from Brisbane to Cairns, the back-up we get from Hastings Deering is good. Excellent, in fact.”
With several trucks in the fleet soon to be replaced, it’s an adamant Peter Gordon who concludes, “The next new trucks will be Cats, too. For sure!”