Yesterday I braved the heat to fit in a trip to a couple more destinations that I need for my project. I decided to focus on two stations in south west London, Hampton and Hampton Court. Once more, like when I visited Ewell, the plan was to travel out to one station and come back from the other with a walk in between. Unlike Ewell, I already had some local knowledge from attending football games. At the Hampton end, I had once travelled to the station for an evening game against Hampton & Richmond FC. So I had some recollection of the section from the station to their ground. At the other end of the walk, I have visited Hampton Court Station when going to a game against Metropolitan Police FC. It was the bit in the middle that was vaguely mysterious but then I believe I have even travelled along that bit in a coach! So the planned walk was not a step into the unknown but rather a case of joining the dots of some recollections.

I travelled out from Waterloo on a Class 707 unit bound for Shepperton via Kingston. The route taken after leaving the South Western mainline at New Malden is quite a mazey one. As a result, the trip from Waterloo takes around 40mins. I arrived at Hampton station and took a couple of photos for the record…

Hampton Station_1
Hampton Station_2

My trainspotting trips for the project sometimes become less about the trains as other things catch my attention. This was one of those days. Walking down Station Road, I came across a DAF LF delivering beer to a pub…

Tradeteam FN19 EUH in Hampton

…The water underneath tells a tale of a leaking water main rather anything wrong with the DAF.

My route took me down to the A308 which parallels the River Thames. I popped down to the Hampton Ferry landing stage and found some retired people enjoying the sun…

River Thames at Hampton

…back up to the road and a view looking back along Thames Street (A308) into Hampton with the Bell Inn standing tall above the heavy traffic…

The Bell Inn, Hampton

A bit further along the A308, now called Hampton Court Road, I ventured onto the bridge connecting Tagg’s Island to the Borough of Richmond on the north bank and got this view of the Thames looking north west…

River Thames at Tagg's Island, Hampton

Traffic is very heavy along the A308 which was a bit of a pain in the very hot weather but as a compensation, I got to photograph a couple more trucks for my collection. This is a brand new Iveco S-Way…

Morcross Transport LX22 WMA, Hampton Court Road

…with a very proud and happy driver 😎 Then there was this slightly older DAF…

Danco D18 NCO on Hampton Court Road

Eventually it was time to cross the river and I was pleased to photograph the pleasure craft, Yarmouth Belle as she prepared to dock at Hampton Court…

Yarmouth Belle at Hampton Court

…Don’t let the the paddles and funnel fool you – they’re just for show. This is a diesel driven propeller vessel. That doesn’t mean she’s not historic though! She was built in in Great Yarmouth in 1892. Much of her early working life was spent on the River Yare doing passenger runs between Yarmouth and Norwich for the Great Yarmouth & Gorleston Steamboat Co. Originally a steamer, the company sold her to a new owner based in Kingston-upon-Thames, where she was converted to diesel power. She’s been with a number of pleasure craft companies over recent years and is currently operated by Turk Launches.

Finally, I’ve reached Hampton Court and it’s time to board the train back to Waterloo before I wilt in the heat…

5720 at Hampton Court

After a number of restarts – sometimes not of my own volition – I know how I want my companies to work or, at least, I think I do. In a number of ways I expect them to be a little like the way things work in the real world. The result is that I have a company in American Truck Simulator that is very different to its counterpart in Euro Truck Sim. I think both companies have grown enough since my last enforced restart to allow me to talk about the differences and what drives them.

In American Truck Sim I have told a story in posts over time. I’ve always felt that driving in American Truck Sim is a bit like the early days of the settlers in the old west – you take opportunities where you find them. My regular readers will know we started as Republik of Bakersfield. Some game updates and a few map expansions later, I wrote a story post about setting up an offshoot company based in Idaho to capture the plant and farming supplies market. That was my way of acknowledging that with the growth of the mapped area in ATS, a new headquarters was needed in a more central location. So Republik Plant and Supplies was born. Initially the offshoot company was based in Twin Falls. That’s the history.

I started out with an old Mack R and a flatbed trailer. We shifted ploughs, fertilizer and Hay with that truck. It was a struggle. Then we picked up some lucrative work shifting building materials – lumber etc. Well, that fits with the supplies don’t it? I expanded, buying a brand new international LT and a small lowbed trailer – now we were in the plant business, shifting diggers, rollers and other smaller bits of machinery including the occasional tractor.

Time moves on – I have a couple more trucks and some employees. I’m currently driving an old Kenworth K100. She’s named Smoky Bennett and seems to turn heads (IRL – she is liked by a number of my fellow truckers on Twitter!). We’re still mainly hauling farm and building supplies but sometimes we pick up other loads like these Buoys…

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The growth in such loads and the predominance of building supply loads lead to a relocation to Ontario (OR) earlier this year. We use a mix of modern and older vehicles and value the older Cabover’s when delivering to tight spots.

I’m planning for the future. We’ll probably be getting some larger lowbed trailers so we can take bigger plant and I think we’ll be getting some drop-deck trailers too to give more flexibility to what we can carry. This company works on ‘See a Load, Take a Load’ – we go where the load takes us and pick up the next load from there. I don’t know where I’ll be tomorrow, let alone next week. Currently I’m parked up in Bellingham (WA).

In Euro Truck things work differently and, I like to think, mimic a European way of working. Where my US company hauls plant and supplies, my European Company shifts produce and manufactured items. We specialise in Logistics. It actually says it on my company trailers. Like in ATS, my ETS2 adventure started off somewhere other than where I’m now based. My first HQ back in 2016 was in Dusseldorf. A lot of water has passed since and my true company didn’t begin until after the Vive La France! map expansion dropped. Since then I have been based in Montpellier and that will not change.

Martin Transport et Logistique use a mix of curtainside and refrigerated trailers to deliver general produce and materials. We don’t handle plant or other heavy machinery. Our main objective is to expand within the South of France and Northern Spain. It is possible that we will also move into North Italy, Switzerland and Germany in the future.

Our operations differ from those of Republik in that trucks are expected to return to home territory within a few days. Most trips out of our home area are expected to result in a return delivery that brings the truck home. Very occasionally a truck will take a delivery that doesn’t meet this but that is a rare occurrence So, my operations are normally limited to those countries that border France. No truck is ever away from home longer than perhaps 3 days.

The Martin fleet is mainly DAF trucks and standardisation will see the phasing out of other makes over time. Queen of the Fleet is Lady Galadriel, a DAF XF 530hp. She is an indulgence and the majority of trucks we own are in the 450-480hp range, though 530hp engines are provided on trucks based in Bilbao and Ajaccio because of the terrain in those areas. I’m currently looking at the next generation DAF trucks. One of my drivers in Ajaccio has a new generation DAF XG 530hp on trial. Unusually, as boss, I’m driving the smaller new generation XF with a 480hp engine. She doesn’t have a name yet, but here she is completing a delivery in Barcelona…

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Our future plans are to consolidate in our home area – we need to purchase a garage in Barcelona to capitalise on the port traffic. With access to the ports of Barcelona, Bordeaux and Marseille, we may move into container traffic too, but that will need specialised trailers. For the time being though, we have plenty of traffic to handle.

So, reader, you’ll gather that when I play one game, I wear a different hat to when I play the other. I think choosing to play each in a different way gives me a good amount of variety in my game play while getting close to some sort of reality. Heavy plant and supplies companies operate differently to Logistics companies, and I hope I’m reflecting that within my choices. The approach in Europe may seem a little constricted but I find I have plenty of variety across the areas that I drive with some fun challenges 😎👍

This month we’re back into a virtual world for Clare’s Share Your Desktop challenge. On March 28th I took a load from Bourges, in mainland France, to Ajaccio on the Island of Corsica. After a break, on 31st I once more climbed into my truck and collected a load of frozen meat bound for Hamburg in Germany. My desktop is an image from my run down to Porto Vecchio to catch the ferry to Marseille…

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…and shows my truck on the T40 climbing up to the town of Sartène. High above on the hillside is the Couvent Saint Côme et Damien. I love driving through Corsica – lots of challenging corners and climbs / descents😎

The image is from Euro Truck Simulator 2. The truck I’m driving is called Lady Galadriel – she’s a DAF XF and has a 530HP engine. She’s hauling one of my company’s side door refrigerated trailers. Like all maps in ETS2, the view is a representation of the real world with a degree of license applied to give a feel for the landscape through which the player drives while including clearly identifiable landmarks. You probably can’t see the Convent from the T40 in real life because of the trees and the topography, but the mapper’s artistry makes for a compelling ‘might have been’ view😎👍