by Nick Hibbitt
How it began
The company trace their roots back to 1938 when
Harry Edward Payne began in
transport as a coal merchant working a Morris
Commercial 30cwt out of Tempsford railway station.
During the war time years, the local farmers couldn't
get their produce to market as their
usual haulier - A Cooper & Son of Sandy
- was working exclusively for the Ministry of War
Transport. This opened the produce door to Harry and it remained a stable
traffic until September 1989.
ETM 809 dates from 1947, the Ford 7V having the
V8 petrol engine and a 5
ton rating. Some 7V operators doubled this capacity by sliding a thick wooden
chock between each of the rear swinging shackles and the vehicle chassis
which in essence locked the rear suspension solid. The racing horse and greyhound
badges on the Ford grille were an indicator of Harry's interest in these
Harry Payne was tragically killed
in a shot gun accident during 1948
on the day he was putting a second Ford 7V on
the road. For the following 10 years the business was kept going by Harry's
wife Edna and her mother-in- law Violet.
In December 1958, David Payne left school still a month
short of his 15th birthday - with the words from
his mother that he could either make or break their
fledgling business. Originally working as a mate, in January 1961, Paynes
bought 662 ETM - one of the first 5 ton
TK Bedfords - as it had an unladen weight just under 3 tons
and thus could be driven by the 17year old David. PEG 603 came second hand
about 1964 and it's first driver
was Hugh Barnes who is now a manager at Paynes. Seen
with a full load of potatoes
and boxed lettuce, the Dodge had the
Perkins 6.2 litre engine, 5 speed gearbox and
Eaton two speed axle. Top speed potential was a rapid
65mph - albeit with poor brakes - although the
vehicle is best recalled for it's large number of diesel
leaks from the injector pipe joints. To combat this
distinctive odour, David Payne went to Woolworths and bought
a disinfectant block normally used in toilet bowls.
Hung up in the cab, the block didn't stay very long as the
combination of diesel and disinfectant fumes made
David physically sick.
During the 1950s, Edna and Violet Payne
had replaced the early Ford 7Vs
with two petrol engined S type Bedfords - PBM 21
and TTM 809 - while the first S type four wheeler with 300 diesel engine
was XMJ 782. Paynes first six wheeler was AFL 862B and Similar to CFL 387C,
was a Leyland Super Comet converted to a trailing axle six wheeler with a
York third axle. Keith Ashpole was first driver of AFL while Ron Randall
was the regular driver of CFL, both vehicles having the 375 engine, Eaton
two speed axle and an operational
gross weight of 18 tons. The Payne bodies
were built by Smiths of Peterborough and incorporated
a small tail board which was
added to prevent people walking off the end
of the vehicle as they were loading
produce. London markets were Paynes normal
port of call although Liverpool and
Manchester crept onto their itinerary when it was
realized that sprouts were fetching
a better price in the north west.
The K Series
Dodge FFL 112D was Payne's
first tilt cab vehicle and is recalled for it's Chrysler-Cummins V6 engine.
With five speed gearbox, the vehicle's maximum rate of knots was 56 mph
but the noise it made tended to indicate a speed of 70-80mph. Regular driver was Brian
Armiger who drove at Paynes until 1989 when he left to become an owner driver
and in 1995 runs a fleet of six
vehicles. Piloting the Dodge through London in the
early hours, the dive through Hyde Park under pass allowed
Brian to create a tremendous noise although this wasn't always appreciated.
When stopped by the Police in Barnet village one
night, such was the trumpeting note from the
Dodge, the law man commented, 'What's this - a Masserati
?' Ran with good reliability for about six years, the Dodge was
traded in for one of the six AEC Marshal 6x4s later operated by Paynes.
In their growing years,
Paynes bought their vehicles from various sources and David Payne recalls
at one time having six vehicles, all painted different colours. Generally
the livery was mid Brunswick green, black chassis and mudguards with gold
paint lettering although recent years has seen chassis colour change to red.
GDO 783E came second hand from Staple Brothers of Friskney near Boston. It
sports a vegetable box cage of the type pioneered by Staples in the Boston
area. Built up in sections
- which nipped many a driver's finger - the cage gave greater strength
to the lighter form of produce
box being introduced. The LV ERF had the Gardner 5LW engine and although
very economical, made painfully slow progress and was not a driver's
favourite. When relegated to the spare vehicle, David Payne said that vehicle
breakdowns seemed to cease
as no one wished to drive the ERF.
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