S Walsh buys Mercedes Econic tipper

Published:  06 May, 2016

The first high-visibility ‘muckaway' Mercedes-Benz Econic has entered service with contractor S Walsh & Sons.

The Essex-based company, which specialises in spoil handling, removal and remediation, is growing on the back of the construction boom in London.

The new truck, which is also S Walsh & Sons' first Mercedes-Benz, is an 8x4 Econic 3235 ENA with a single front steer axle, double-drive bogie and rear-steer axle. This configuration means it is has a tighter turning circle and is more manoeuvrable than a conventional 32-tonne construction eight-wheeler.

The low-entry chassis offers safety advantages in relation to cyclists and pedestrians. To further enhance visibility, the vehicle is equipped with a full complement of cameras, as well as one that monitors the driver's behaviour at the wheel.

There are now more than 20 Econics working in the capital's construction sites. The first, an alloy-bodied tipper built for aggregates work, was delivered last summer; others commissioned since include tipper-grabs and skip-loaders.

S Walsh & Sons' vehicle has a Fruehauf steel tipping body and is being used to support several high-profile construction projects in London, including the Battersea Power Station redevelopment and Crossrail scheme. The truck collects spoil, much of it clay, which it then tips at various locations in Essex.

The company's senior transport manager Nathan Hopgood said: “The Econic offers a 19-tonne payload, which is certainly competitive. More importantly, though, it represents a major step forward in terms of safety.”

S Walsh & Sons, which operates from headquarters in Brentwood, is a Construction Logistics and Cyclist Safety (CLOCS) champion and accredited to Gold standard by the Freight Operator Recognition Scheme (FORS).

A former driver, Mr Hopgood has taken the new Econic out himself. ‘My first thought was… what on Earth is this?' he said.

'The driving position is very different to anything I'd experienced before, and I wasn't sure how it was going to be.

‘After just half an hour on the road, though, I realised that I really liked it. You see a lot more of what's around you, and the fact that you sit that much lower means that you can make direct eye contact with cyclists and pedestrians, which is a big help.'

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