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The longest road train in history still holds the world record

Ten years later – the Guinness World Record for hauling the longest road train still stands. The record was set near Clifton on the Darling Downs in southern Queensland by Brisbane man John Atkinson, who drove a single Mack prime mover 140m in 50 seconds, pulling 112 heavy haulage trailers. Joined together, the record-breaking road train stretched across a distance of 1, 474.3 metres, that’s a truck and trailer combination measuring almost 1.5km long.

A matter of logistics as much as muscle

The most difficult aspect of arranging the attempt on the world record was assembling all the trailers. Telling ABC News at the time, event organiser Mick Boyce says there was uncertainty about whether the record could be beaten.

“You just don’t know if all the trailers are going to stand up on the day and all of those sorts of things there were tankers, flat tops, tippers – you name it, it was in there – but you know it’s come through,” he said.

“We had problems we had to overcome and we did run out of dollies and they had to be shifted in from Toowoomba,” he said.

Another challenge of the day was the heat, with the mercury reaching 38 degrees.

Unlikely to be beaten soon

Prior to this record-breaking attempt, roads trains set records more regularly, however it’s unlikely that the 2006 record will be broken in the near future due to crack down on safety regulations for heavy transport trailers.

It’s not hard to see how road trains stretching to distances beyond 1km carry serious safety risks, which is why there are now limits on road train lengths. Rules vary but every Australian state has a code of practice that states the operating conditions for combinations of prime movers and trailers, including low loaders and wideners, which must also comply with width, height and weight restrictions.

That’s not to say the record will never be broken, because exception permits can be granted by road transport authorities, but the effort required to co-ordinate world record attempts, combined with the lost operating time of all the trailer owners taking part means this record could stand for at least another decade.

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