GPO Vehicles

Make Karrier
Model Gamecock CK3
Type 2 ton General Utility Vehicle, Type 1 (Karrier)
Body Builder 1947 - Yeading and 1948 - Spurling Motor Bodies
Use Overhead construction
Registration Number JLE 625 (1947) and JXY 747 (1948)
Fleet Number Ranges U48046 (JLE 625) 1947 - Prototype
U56125 to U56334 (JXY 452 - 661) 1948
U56335 to U56434 (JXY 730 - 829) 1948
U57770 to U57775 (LUU 994 - 999) 1950
U57764 to U57847 (MLB 518 - 589) 1951
U57900 to U58041 (MLH 395 - 536) 1951
Date of pictures September 1948 and 1950

Karrier Gamecock, CK3 model, 2 ton, crew cabbed utility van.  On this model the basic cab was wooden framed with
aluminum cladding whereas the later Karrier QXM models had a pressed steel cab.
This particular utility was probably the first postwar 2 ton utility to be delivered.

Click here for an article on this vehicle

1947 Model




1948 Model



The Post Office Electrical
Engineers’ Journal
VOL.  42 - April 1949

A New Utility Vehicle
U.D.C.  629.113

A 2-ton general utility vehicle of an experimental type has been designed by the Post Office and is now on trial in the field. 

The advantages over earlier types include higher pay-load; low loading; more floor and locker space; adequate pole and ladder-carrying capacity and an improved standard of comfort for workmen. 

To introduce the subject, perhaps a reference to some of the utility vehicles of the past will best serve to provide a suitable back ground against which to display what it is hoped will be the advantages of the future version of this type of vehicle. 

One of the earliest, if not the earliest, "Utility" is shown in Fig.  1.  Here some of the disadvantages of these vehicles of the earlier days of motor transport in the Engineering Department are clearly presented; the open cab, the open body, the unbalanced suspension of the ladders to avoid obstructing entry to the cab, and the lack of pole-carrying facilities. 

At the time this vehicle was introduced (about 1925), it was no doubt the acme of design, and although compared with present-day standards it presents a somewhat severe and angular appearance, it was indeed a great step forward from the alternative of trundling a heavy handcart in the execution of works necessary to the provision and maintenance of an efficient telephone service. 

In 1927, the vehicle shown in Fig. 2 was brought into service, the design of which incorporated a closed body with glazed panels, improved ladder-carrying facilities, pole-carrying facilities, wiring drums and an improved locker space. 

The Utility as we know it to-day remains little changed from the vehicle shown in Fig. 2, except for minor modifications such as sliding glazed panels, improved locker doors and an attempt, in the form of hooks, clips and a detailed stowing list, to provide a place for everything necessary.  These vehicles are of the 30-cwt.  class and are officially described as 30-cwt. Utility vehicles.  They are most extensively used by gangs employed on Advice Notes and Minor Works and are the standard vehicles for four-man gangs. 

Contemporary with the 30-cwt
Utility is the 30-cwt.  Stores-carrying vehicle, which is sometimes used as a Utility because of its superior pole carrying capacity and its suitability for underground cabling works; during the war years it was used because the standard utility vehicles were not available.  The stores-carrying vehicle, as its name implies, is primarily a vehicle for carrying general stores, and when it is used as a Utility, it is usually necessary to provide removable tool lockers.  Recently, in an attempt to alleviate the discomfort occasioned to workmen riding in the body of the vehicle, a draught screen has been provided for fitting under the tilt of the vehicle.

Fig.  1 - Utility Vehicle in 1925

Fig.  2 - Utility Vehicle in 1927 

Necessity for a New Utility Vehicle
The present time, therefore, some 23 years after the introduction of the first Utility, finds in regular service two standard vehicles, one a utility vehicle which does not meet entirely the present-day requirements, and the other a stores-carrying vehicle which is, at best, a makeshift affair when used as a Utility.  This also was the position in 1938, but the intervening war years precluded any investigation of the possibilities of improvements so clearly necessary to keep abreast of the changing conditions and practices.  Further, during the immediate post-war years, with all the attendant production difficulties of that period, it was necessary to accept almost any vehicles which could be obtained quickly, to meet the intensive campaign against the arrears of telephone installation works.  Thus, the investigation was further delayed until the immediate post-war demand was met and the production position became more stable. 

Eventually, an exhaustive investigation was made towards the end of 1946 and it was found that the 30-cwt. Utility vehicle was being used for many purposes for which it was not designed; overloading was occurring more frequently than was desirable and in many cases 50 per cent, of the locker space was not used even when the vehicle was employed on Advice Note works - for which it was originally intended.  In practically all cases, on whatever duty the vehicle was employed, the floor space was found to be occupied by items which could not be stored in the lockers, such as earth plates, stayblocks, bricks, sand, earth from excavations, joint box frames, crowbars, sledge hammers, coils of rope, fire pots, jointers tents, drums of cable, and motor pumps.  One vehicle was carrying ten men and hauling a motor winch. 

Gangs provided with 30-cwt
Utilities had little criticism to offer when employed on overhead Advice Note work and gangs provided with 30-cwt. stores-carrying vehicles used as Utilities on similar duties, were generally envious of gangs with 30-cwt. Utilities and complained that the removable lockers were unsuitable, that they occupied too much floor space and afforded inadequate accommodation for tools and stores, and that appreciable discomfort was occasioned to members of the gang when riding in the body of the vehicle. 

Gangs employed on underground works, although not enthusiastic about the stores-carrying vehicle used as a Utility, preferred it to the 30-cwt. 

Utility, with the general complaint that the floor height of the vehicle was too great. 

Supervising officers generally agreed that the 30-cwt. Utility lacked floor space in the body of the vehicle, and was of limited use and, therefore, unsuitable for the mixed duties gangs are required to perform. 

Design of New Vehicle
On analysing the information gleaned from the investigation, it became clear that to meet the requirements of the mixed duties - anything from joint box building and underground cabling works to Advice Notes - a vehicle was required which combined as far as possible all the advantages of the 30-cwt.  Utility without introducing any of the disadvantages; in the main, a vehicle which provided ample floor space and payload, adequate pole- and ladder-carrying facilities, adequate comfort for the gang, a low floor height and sufficient locker space. 

Proposals for a new utility vehicle were therefore formulated and the specification provided inter alia for a minimum payload of 2 tons, cab accommodation for five persons including the driver, lowest possible floor height even if wheel arches within the body could not be avoided, and, inside the vehicle, open locker space confined to the offside and front end of the body. 

An experimental vehicle was decided upon, and its construction was undertaken by the Post Office in the workshops at Yeading, where, under the direction of Motor Transport Branch officers, every detail of the specification was incorporated in the design of the new vehicle described in the following paragraphs and illustrated in Fig.  3. 

A 3-ton Karrier Low Loader chassis with small diameter twin rear wheels has been used to provide for a payload of 2 tons, and to give a floor height of approximately 3 ft.  A step placed to the offside of the tailboard and a conveniently placed grab handle (see Fig. 4) should prove of considerable advantage to the users and reduce to a minimum the exertions necessary to get in and out of the vehicle; quite an appreciable saving of effort when one considers the number of times a workman may get up into and down from the vehicle during a normal day's work.

Fig.  3 - The New Experimental Vehicle

The cab of the vehicle as shown in Fig. 5 next calls for comment.  Built as an entirely separate unit from the body, this spacious compartment will accommodate in comfort five persons including the driver.  A locker beneath one of the seats provides accommodation for the foreman's books and papers, and a folding table, together with a conveniently placed light for use when occasion demands, completes the furnishing and provides adequate office facilities for completing the records a foreman is called upon to make.  Mention must be made of the exceptionally clear view afforded by the forward setting of the cab, the adjustable driving seat, and the wide forward-hung doors.  The introduction of this cab as standard should, in the author's opinion, remove once and for all those complaints, many of which were quite justified, of the discomfort of riding in the Department’s Utility vehicles.  Further, the degree of comfort provided for the gang while travelling to and from a work will no doubt  be reflected in an enhanced efficiency
when on the job, and will repay for the careful consideration expended in devising the cab accommodation. 

So far the emphasis has been on the comfort of the workmen, and the impression may have been gained that this was the sole purpose in mind. 

Important as this may be, however, it is not the only factor to receive attention, and the remainder of the description will show that a balance has been struck in providing a vehicle which will result in an improved overall efficiency in the field. 

Mention was made earlier of the limited pole-carrying facilities of the 30-cwt. Utility, and the high loading height of the 30-cwt. stores-carrying vehicles.  In the new vehicle both these disadvantages have been overcome in that the bolster arrangement gives a low loading height and provides for the carrying of an adequate load of poles of maximum length 36 ft. and to a total load of 30 cwt. when necessary.  The openings at the forward end of the body are fitted with doors which, when opened, lie flat on the top of the cab, and have been arranged in three sections so that only the section required need be opened.  The opening of these doors is effected from inside the vehicle. 

The ladder rack has been formed on top of the offside lockers inside the vehicle, and has the advantage that an easy lift to the rack is possible, thus avoiding the awkward and high lift to the hooks that occurs with the 30-cwt. Utility.  Attached to the front edge of the rack, two straps, arranged to prevent them being left under the ladders as they are placed on the rack, provide a means of securing the ladders in position.  The rack is free from loose parts likely to become lost. 

The lockers, as previously mentioned, have been arranged along the offside and front end of the body, leaving a clear floor space of approximately 8 ft. 6 in. x 4 ft., when the seat along the nearside of the body is folded back.  Anchor rings for securing loads when necessary have been fitted along each side of this clear floor space.  The lockers take the form of open bins with a four-inch guard rail and loose partitions for dividing the bins to the requirements of the work whether it be Advice Notes, U.G. cabling or O.H. construction, and within reasonable limits allow for individual preferences in the arrangement of the locker space.  The lower shelf of the offside lockers provides accommodation for the long tools such as digging bars and spoons, and a conveniently-placed door in the rear panel of the body gives access to this space.  The deep forward lockers will provide ample space for storing coils of rope, wire and similar items.

Fig.  4 - Rear View

Fig.  5 - The Cab

Fig.  6 - Vehicle Closed and Locked

To facilitate the erection of open wires, arrangements have been made for three spindles to be provided as part of the vehicle equipment.  These spindles have been designed to fit into sockets in the floor of the vehicle.  Two of the spindles are suitable for carrying wiring drums for 40-lb. bronze and cadmium copper and one for the wiring drum of the drum wheelbarrow so that the heavier gauge conductors may be handled without the need for conveying the barrow.  It is not proposed to provide drums as standard equipment of the vehicle because the utility of the vehicle permits of its use on many works where drums are unnecessary, and the requirement can be met by drums already in existence. 

For cabling operations a bollard for attachment to the spring-loaded draw bar provides a means of attaching the rope for pulling in cables by means of the vehicle. 

The body of the vehicle is made lockfast by means of a steel reinforced canvas sheet (Fig. 6) which covers the rear opening and which is secured in position by a steel bar and padlocks.  A small door hinged at the top edge and secured in position with a spring bolt completes the lockfast arrangements at the rear end of the vehicle when ladders are not being carried.  When ladders are in position, this door is secured to the underside of the roof, the ladders themselves providing sufficient obstruction to prevent unauthorised access to the interior of the vehicle. 

Last, but not least, are the coat hooks for the gang's clothing, the light for illuminating the interior of the body and the provision made for storing the rear pole bolster and skid boards beneath the floor of the vehicle when these items are not in use - a considerable improvement over the old method of stowing them on the floor of the vehicle where they were invariably in the way and often inaccessible without moving part of the load. 

In conclusion, it should be mentioned again that this is an experimental vehicle which will be subjected to extensive field trials before its introduction as a standard vehicle is considered.  In the meantime, therefore, the existing vehicles must remain the standard. 

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