Revving into the century

Noel Lane started out with a single Ford LTL-9000 in 1989. Now he’s up to truck number 100, the latest addition a new extended cab R-Series Scania.

When you first hear a truck roaring up for a run, it’s hard to not get excited. Everyone can remember a time when they held out their arm and did the infamous pull-down move, urging the driver to blast the horn. They tend to not forget these moments.

For Noel Lane however, there are way too many of those moments to think of.

Calling Noel up, I shouldn’t have been surprised to find out he was answering from a truck. With a hum in the background, he revealed that growing up at his family’s potato farm in Killarney, western Victoria, he was constantly surrounded by trucks.

“We were constantly around transport all the time. We were around trucks. They were everywhere,” he says.

When he finally started driving them, it was to cart potatoes from the wider Western District of Victoria as well as loading from the potato growing centre of Hillston in NSW.

When reflecting on the time he says, “we definitely learnt about having a pretty good work ethic”.

“We were also milking cows. It was seven days of work every week.”

However tiring, Lane says he always wanted to get into transport.

Founding Lane Transport in 1989, he saw an opportunity to provide exceptional customer service within the interstate freight industry.

Starting with only one truck, Lane’s first fleet addition was a Ford LTL-9000.

A competitor to the GMC General, Kenworth W900, Mack Super-Liner and Peterbilt 359, the vehicle was fitted with a set-forward front axle and a longer hood than previous versions.

Since then, Lane Transport has evolved into a successful business with a continually growing large fleet of late model European and American trucks transporting bulk loads and general freight throughout Australia.

“Over the years I’ve always had Fords, Cascadias and Mercedes. Their trucks are always good and honest,” he says.

“Over the last five to six years I’ve started introducing Scania into the fleet.

“The drivers love to drive them and the maintenance programs are really good.”

Celebrating its 100th fleet addition this month, Lane Transport received one of the first Scania extended cab R-series.

With 35 active vehicles traversing Australia currently, carting packaged general freight mostly in B-double configuration, the new Scania joins the mixed fleet and will run Melbourne-Adelaide-Millicent five times per fortnight, clocking up around 200,000km annually.

Named after Noel’s grand-daughter Jayla Rose, the truck is powered by a 660hp (492kW) V8 engine and finished in a striking shade of Scania Blue Sapphire metallic and boasts bold V8 decals.

The larger extended cab provides Lane Transport drivers with a more comfortable environment for life on the road due to its high ceiling and extra cab length.

In addition, Noel’s new truck comes standard with side curtain rollover protection airbags for the driver and passenger, a steering wheel airbag, advanced emergency braking, lane departure warning and adaptive cruise control as standard.

“We always wanted the 100th truck to be special and to keep it for a long time. They fiddled around with the gold and did it perfectly,” he says.

After receiving the keys, Noel immediately climbed in behind the wheel and took it up to Brisbane with its first load.

“I am still happy to jump in and do my share of driving, and then you know what your drivers have got to put up with,” he says.

“It’s good for management to see and keep up to date with everything at the sites.”

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