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Prime mover takes on rough and dusty Outback

By Patrick Nelson

CDU’s new prime mover retrieves a mobile classroom from Arlparra CDU’s new prime mover retrieves a mobile classroom from Arlparra

Charles Darwin University’s new $300,000 prime-mover has been clocking up the kilometres on Central Australia’s rough and dusty roads since its arrival in Alice Springs recently.

The gleaming 10-tonne Caterpillar CT630LS was unveiled at Info Night in the Red Centre before departing on its first assignment, to retrieve a mobile classroom from Arlparra, 260km north east of Alice Springs

Driver Peter Rose said the 550hp truck was the perfect vehicle for towing the university’s MALUs (mobile adult learning units) over long distances across rough terrain.

“The Sandover Highway is not the roughest road I’ve been on, but the corrugations were enough to slow us down to about 30km/h over a good part of the journey,” Mr Rose said.

“And it can be a lonely track. We didn’t come into contact with a single vehicle on the return leg, until we hit the Stuart Highway.

“With its superior technology and its smoother ride this vehicle is a much safer option than the previous truck, which served us for about 12 years.”

Mr Rose washed a layer of red Outback dust off the big rig before towing the MALU to Laramba, 200km northwest of Alice Springs.

He said he would take a second MALU to Ltyentye Apurte this month.