New Cascadias are ‘magic to drive’

Lane Transport has celebrated its 30 year anniversary with the purchase of a second Freightliner Cascadia.   

Based in Kilarney on Victoria’s south-western coast, the business operates a mixed fleet of 37 B-doubles that run across Australia’s eastern seaboard and into South Australia. 

Lane Transport founder Noel Lane started the business off with a 1418 Mercedes-Benz and a Ford LNT 9000, hauling produce from his family’s potato farm in Western Victoria.

He soon started delivering pulp and paper for Visy, who he still carries for today, before adding more packaging and other products from many different customers through the years. 

Among the materials moved by Lane Transport are glass bottles that are picked up from a manufacturing facility in Gawler, South Australia, and delivered to wineries across that state, as well as Victoria and New South Wales.

In 2021, Lane purchased a striking blue Cascadia 116, one of the smart rigs on the Daimler Truck stand at the Brisbane Truck Show. He recently added the second Cascadia to his fleet – but this time it was a 126 model. It wears some special signage celebrating 30 years of Lane Transport, which has grown significantly over the years.

The industry veteran says he is glad to have introduced the Cascadias, telling Big Rigs how good they are out on the road.

“They are just magic to drive,” he said. “The comfort is amazing, it’s like driving a big car in some ways. They are really comfortable and quiet and have the AMTs, which really make life a lot easier.”

The second Cascadia to start work for Lane Transport is a 126 model with a 36-inch sleeper. It tows a B-double trailer set and runs at 65 tonnes Gross Vehicle Mass (GCM) under mass management. 

The 36-inch cab gives the drivers, who are often away from home, a decent amount of space while still allowing the Cascadia to fit in front of a B-double trailer set. For those who don’t have the same packaging constraints, the Cascadia can also be selected with a 48-inch or 60-inch cab.   

Lane added that the Cascadia is very strong when it comes to fuel efficiency running at 65-tonnes, comparing it to the Mercedes-Benz Actros trucks in his fleet, which are well-known fuel misers.

“It would have to be close to the Actros, just under the 2 kilometres per litre mark, which is a really good going,” said Lane.

He continued, “The Cascadias are certainly the most efficient of the bonneted trucks in the fleet.”

The blue Cascadia 116 has been joined by a white Cascadia 126 model.

Lane always goes out of his way to invest in safety, so he was pleased that the Cascadia comes standard with a vast array of active safety features.

Standard equipment includes a full suite of safety features such as a radar and camera-based Advanced Emergency Braking System (AEBS) that can automatically detect and fully brake for moving pedestrians, in addition to vehicles. Also standard is a radar-based adaptive cruise control system and a lane departure warning system in addition to Electronic Stability Program and a driver airbag. 

Lane also selected the optional Sideguard Assist feature, which uses a radar to detect people, cars and other objects down the side of the truck when it is about to move left into a lane or to turn.  

Lane said the advanced safety technology of the trucks is welcome, adding that the cab design of the Cascadia also helps his drivers. 

“The visibility of these Cascadias is really, really good. The shape of the bonnet means that you can see very well out the windscreen,” he said.

Under the sloping bonnet lies an advanced Detroit engine. The blue 116 features a 13-litre six-cylinder that generates 505hp and 1850lb/ft of torque, while the 126 packs a 16-litre that pumps out 600hp and 2050lb/ft.

These are smart engines that meet the GHG17 emission standard, which is stricter than Euro 6, something that is appreciated by customers who are counting the emissions in their chains of production and distribution. 

While an 18-speed Eaton manual is an option, Lane chose the clever 12-speed DT12 Automated Manual Transmission (AMT). The in-house integration of the engine and gearbox means the truck can adapt to the terrain it is travelling over to save fuel, which is more important than ever given current prices. 

It uses GPS and topographical data to determine when it can best change gear or select neutral and even coast to make the most of the terrain and save as much fuel as possible.

The two Cascadias are on a Freightliner service contract, which means Lane has paid a fee for the trucks to be serviced at a Daimler Truck dealership, by factory-trained technicians using genuine parts.

Lane says the team at Daimler Trucks Mount Gambier and Daimler Trucks Mildura look after his trucks and go out of their way to make sure the Lane Transport trucks keep moving.

“The guys at Daimler Trucks Mount Gambier are so helpful and so are the team at Mildura.”

He added that it makes sense for the Cascadia to be on a service contract because they are more advanced and require specialist knowledge.

“Being on a service contract gives us peace of mind and we are really happy with the way it is working out for us,” he concluded.

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