b'engine. The 8.8-litre unit had a boreand stroke of 115 x 142mm. Anelectric starter was fitted to theengine, but provision was providedfor hand starting by two men using acrank handle to turn pulleys whichwere connected by belts to theengine mainshaft. A 24-volt electricalsystem utilised four 6-volt batteries,with 22 volts required to turn theengine over.An ingenious power transfer systemwas employed to deliver power to the8 driving wheels. A 4-speed gearboxwas mounted behind the engine andwas backed up by a further 3-speedauxiliary box from which the propellershaft ran to a point almost above thelast axle. From here power was mounted up near the roof. This wasdistributed via a small transfer case to for the dual purpose of escapinga series of four shafts running througheach axle from the rear to the front. accidental damage and to stopEach axle had a differential, but acted spinifex from being sucked in. The fandrew air in through the cabin andin independently of each other. If wheel- made driving the vehicle a Spartanspin occurred on any axle it did not experience. In front of the main faneffect the operation of the other three. was a second, smaller fan, which wasThe front and rear axles were driven by a belt from the auxiliaryequipped with steering mechanisms shaft on the engine. With the radiatorbut no brakes. Air brakes however, mounted well away from the engine,were fitted to the two centre axles. Air cooling water was circulated bytanks were mounted at the rear of the conventional water pump with radiatorcab and a hose provided for tyre and engine connected by a longinflation. Brakes were operated by a diagonal pipe across the centre of thefor general haulage in Northern foot pedal, with air going first to the cab. Another fan was located at theTerritory. trailers. There was also a mechanical front of the vehicle on the engine,handbrake. Suspension was fully which was designed to duct air underAccording to Tony Duffin, the grandson articulated consisting of a pair of semi the bonnet. The front of the vehicleof one of the engineers who drove the elliptic springs on each axle, which carried two spare wheels, but aftertruck on its inaugural journey to the were inverted with their ends attached continual bracket breakages, theyCentre, it was the biggest all-wheel to the axles and the centre bolted to were transferred onto the tray.drive, off road truck that was ever the central chassis. Serving the Outbackproduced. Mounted at the axle ends were swivel The AEC road train became anIt could carry 15 tonnes, which is not joints, which allowed for articulation essential road and mail service in themuch today; but in the 1930s that was when travelling over rough terrain. Nothern Territory. The Governmenta huge quantity of material. The cabin was functional and did not Road Train was based at AliceDrivetrain even have a windscreen. The engine Springs, where most supplies for theThe AEC prime mover was powered radiator and fan were fitted behind the Territory were distributed.by a 97kW six-cyclinder diesel driver at the rear of the cab andTRACKWATCH SEPTEMBER 2020 25'