What Is A Road Train

The biggest, longest trucks in the world - Road trains

What is a road train?

A road train is an expression used to describe a prime mover that pulls two or more trailers.

Australian road trains are the longest road-legal trucks in the world, with double road trains around 35 metres long and weighing about 80 tonnes, and triple road trains reaching around 53 metres in length and weighing up to 115 tonnes.

Where can you see a road train

The Australian Outback tours is the best opportunity to take you to the place where you can see road trains.  They are most common on roads in Western Australia, Central Australia and the Northern Territory, especially on the Stuart Highway north of Alice Springs, and the Victoria/Great Northern Highway between Katherine and Broome.

The importance of road trains in Australia

Road trains play a vital part in Australia’s economy transporting fuel, livestock, mineral ores and regular freight across its vast states.

The first road trains in Australia ran in the mid-nineteenth century from the Flinders Ranges to Port Augusta where they replaced bullock teams taking minerals to port.  

They also replaced camel trains moving freight across the Northern Territory, and today they are a fact of life on Australian highways and bring goods to isolated towns. Indeed, this is another reason why we should visit Australia.

Road safety tips

Road trains can be very intimidating on the roads due to their sheer size, but it pays to follow some simple safety tips if you ever encounter one of these mammoths:

- Road trains are huge and therefore they don’t stop or slow down quickly.  Bear this in mind if you are following one, or approaching one and don’t make rash decisions regarding your driving.

- Overtaking a road train or being overtaken requires ample time to complete a passing manoeuvre. If in doubt, pull over and wait until the road clears.  Road trains are often found on dusty Outback roads, so if your visibility is impaired don’t even think about passing one.

Did you know?  The Guinness World Record for the longest road train is 1474.3 metres – equal to the length of 156 London buses!  It was set in Queensland in 2006 when a truck towed 113 trailers.