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Austin K4 TL Christmas
Fire Engine Photos
No: 40318   Contributor: Martin Wannell   Year: 2016   Manufacturer: Austin   Country: United Kingdom
Austin K4 TL Christmas

December 2017 at Westlea fire station Wiltshire Wartime Austin K4 GXN 205 TL complete with nativity scene carried by crew cab, helping raise funds for the firefighters charity by touring the streets of West Swindon.
Picture added on 16 December 2016 at 11:15
add commentComments:
Well done, we need more folks like you to raise money for The Firefighters Charity. Post some 'street shots' if you can.

Added by Paul Bundy on 17 December 2016.
In three evenings the crew of Westlea Fire Station raised £1300. The Austin has been doing this and other fund raisers for the Charity for 38 years of the 41 years we have owned her. A much loved appliance in Royal Wootton Bassett.

Added by Chris Wannell on 28 December 2016.
This shot clearly illustrates the shortcoming of this design, namely that the ladder had a limited rotational field, due to the short wheelbase chassis and the crew cab. This meant that the driver had to be very careful placing the truck so that it could operate effectively. No backing up!

Added by Rob Johnson on 29 December 2016.
Rob. Whilst the crew cab certainly would prevent 360 degree rotation...its worth noting that not all of these vehicles were fitted with a crew cab ...however 360 degree rotation was still prevented by the simple fact that, when the ladder is elevated the heel of the ladder is below the level of the chassis...so, no matter how long the wheelbase or whether a crew cab is fitted or not it is simply impossible to rotate a 60' TL through 360 degrees ! as always with ariel appliance operation a driver/operator is in sole charge of positioning of the vehicle for maximum effect/benefit !

Added by Rick Loudon on 16 January 2017.
Interesting comment Rick! Seems this ladder was not potentially all that useful, like the short-lived PHP which came along later.

Added by Rob Johnson on 16 January 2017.
It was fit for the purpose for which it was designed ie an aerial appliance that could be operated by non specialist crews. Cardigan and Carmarthen Joint FB had one on the run until the late 60s at least. Devon rechassised one onto a TK chassis.

Added by Neal Glover on 18 January 2017.
No I don't think you are correct Rob..this ladder was very useful during WW2 where a TL was required but the lack of skilled operators meant this type was devised..it was hand operated and some were later fitted with power ..although rotation (training in TL speak) was always a manual operation...thereby meaning smaller TL's could be allocated to other parts of the country..releasing larger TL's and operators to more needy areas...many of the 50 that were produced went on to survive well into the 1960's in local authority brigades !...so there is no comparison to the PHP or latterly CARP in my opinion !

Added by Rick Loudon on 19 January 2017.
So, not something to carp about!

Added by Rob Johnson on 25 January 2017.
Perth in Scotland used one of those up till 1959 when then they got an AEC/Mercury/Merryweather TL.

Added by Grant Melville on 25 January 2017.
Small 18 meter and 22 meter turntable ladders were also quite popular in Germany in the 1950s and 1960s, probably for similar reasons of budget constraints. In France, the 18 meter heavy wheeled metal ladder survived into the 1970s, but these were then gradually replaced by a combination of 15 m lightweight extension ladders on pumpers and more 30 m TLs, and are now almost extinct.

It seems that most countries which still use ladders or ladder towers instead of aerial platforms tend to buy mostly the 30/32/23-12 meter varieties. Probably these are the best compromise in terms of cost, reach and drivability.

The CARP is an obvious effort to reduce the cost of having two separate vehicles, and to eliminate some staffing at full-time stations. But the designs seem to be quite a problem in terms of size and weight. Perhaps with newer, lighter and more compact specifications and designs they may eventually become practical, but current efforts using today's available technology seem to be a problem.

Added by Rob Johnson on 26 January 2017.
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