Long-established Derbyshire builder’s merchants, Salisbury & Wood has put its first Volvo FM13.460 Tridem truck into service.

Originally a builder’s merchant, nowadays Tansley, Matlock-based Salisbury & Wood has another string to its bow. “About seven or eight years ago now another merchant came into the area and inevitably took some of the trade,” director Ken Bowner explains. “We thought we’d better do something, so we got a couple of used vehicles and started doing a bit of haulage.”

The experiment was a success and now the company has four trucks, all Volvos and all much newer than those early trucks. However, their latest purchase is a bit special, a Volvo FM 8×2 Tridem rigid.

“We chose a Tridem because we do a lot of work taking decorative gravels and spars all over the country, particularly into London,” Ken reports. “A customer was always asking us to take 16-tonne loads, but the carrying capacity on our 26-tonners is only 13.5 tonnes because our vehicles carry a rear-mounted crane.”

Ken initially looked at a drawbar option, but soon realised that a Tridem rigid was the better way forward. “The new FM Tridem can get into the same sites our six-wheelers can, that’s where the Tridem bit comes in,” Ken notes adding, “the driver who’s got it has been with me for over 20 years. He went to a job the other week which was inaccessible with his old truck, but he got in with Tridem!”

With the D13K engine rated at 460hp, the new truck has more than enough pulling power, while the Volvo Engine Brake Plus (VEB+) makes stopping safely easy. This factor is vital for a vehicle, which spends so much of its life delivering to urban environments.

Arranging the purchase of such a specialist vehicle took quite some doing. Among other features, this Tridem is fitted with uprated suspension for the rear-mounted crane and a reversing camera for safer manoeuvring.