24 November 1995

Long-chassis pole planter could find an agricultural role

By Peter Hill

JCBs long-chassis Fastrac built by Horsch (Machinery, Nov 17), is not the first vehicle of its kind.

JCB Landpower has already built two extended Fastracs for Eastern Electricity, including a six-wheel, four-wheel-drive version being used for pole installations on farm land.

The electricity company opted for the 150hp 155-based vehicle as a means of reducing damage compensation claims and better access to farm sites. Compared with the four- and six-wheel-drive road trucks used at present the Fastrac has lower ground pressure, better traction and more ground clearance.

Unlike the Horsch conversion, which has a tapered box chassis aft of the cab to accommodate extra-wide wheels and tyres, JCBs six-wheel Fastrac has an extended standard chassis. The vehicle has a slightly longer wheelbase between the two driven axles with a further chassis extension to the rear, where a third, undriven axle is fitted.

A Hiab 1000 hydraulic crane is mounted on the end of the chassis for augering holes and manipulating the poles into place from a rack mounted on the vehicle. Without all this equipment, the bare chassis has a payload of 6.3t within the 13.5t gross vehicle weight, with the longer chassis creating a load area 2.9m (9ft 6in) long.

JCB is in the throes of completing another long-chassis Fastrac for Eastern Electricity but this time with just two axles. &#42

JCB built this long-chassis Fastrac 155 for use by Eastern Electricity as a pole planting vehicle. Could the machine have agricultural applications – spreading lime or fertiliser on difficult terrain, perhaps?