A road train is not literally a train on the road but on the contrary is a chain of motor powered vehicles. The concept of road train was invented in Australia, primarily for transport of heavy loads like construction equipment, mining machinery, small trucks, trailers, mineral ores, fuel, cattle & live stock and the like. Road trains are also known as triples or Turnpike doubles or Rocky Mountain doubles are commonly used for longer combination vehicles (LCVs). A road train by design has the resemblance of a relatively conventional tractor unit, but contrary to pulling one trailer or semi-trailer, the road train pulls two or more trailers or semi-trailers.
Road trains came to existence in 1930, when the Government of South Australia replaced the Afghan camel trains from the late 1800s with a fleet of AEC 8×8 army trucks to move cargo and supplies deep into the Northern Territory. Australian Kurt Johansson is identified as the father of the modern day road train with his design of the road train pullingtwo or three 6m (18 ft) Dyson four-axle self tracking trailers.
The Mining industry in Australia employs some of the largest and heaviest road-legal road trains in the world, with some of the configurations topping out at close to 200 tonnes (440,000 lb). Most of the road train range between 80 and 120 t (180,000 and 260,000 lb). With the exception of a few urban centers, Two-trailer road trains, or “doubles,” are allowed to tread in most parts of Australia. The triples or the three trailer road trains are predominantly operated in Western Australia, Western New South Wales, Western Queensland, South Australia and the Northern territory. Western Australia, South Australia and the Northern territory allow even the 3.5 trailers or the AB Quads on their state roads.
Mining industry in Australia expects the Road train drivers to be very vigilant and patient. A road train driven recklessly could end up destroying the vehicles passing by and the road & anything that comes in the way. Road trains at times can go up to four trailers long and the road train drivers need to have a MC licence to be employed by the mining industry in Australia. Road train transport is cheap & cost effective for the operators and has contributed immensely to the economic development of the remote areas of Western Australia and Australia in general. Some of the areas and communities count on the road trains to be their primary transport lifeline.
The mining industry in Australia requires the road trains drivers to be experienced in general driving and maintenance of heavy vehicles. The road train driver has to perform periodical maintenance of the truck in addition to loading & unloading the cargo. The road train operators should have experience in off road and paddock experience. Persons with a mature and professional attitude who adhere to all the road, fatigue and OHS regulations stand a greater chance to be recruited by the mining industry of Australia. Road train operators are paid from $80000 to $120000 along with perks like FIFO, health care and life insurance.