GPO Vehicles

Make British Leyland
Model Boxer 1200
Body Builder Box Building Vehicle Type III
Use Box building
Registration Number  
Fleet Number  
Date of picture Circa 1980


Box Building Vehicle Type III
Taken from External Plant News - No. 54 April 1980

Specialist vehicles designed specifically for Box Building operations were first introduced in 1964. Initially, about 170 vehicles were made available for field use but the early issues have now come to the end of their useful life. Prototype designs were produced for the next generation of these vehicles (featured in Issue 37 of EPN) and evaluated on ECOPC field trials conducted during 1975 and 1976. The new vehicles issued nationally have not altered significantly from the prototypes except in the details discussed in this article.

The second generation prototypes and the first 18 vehicles were built upon the 10-tonne gross BLMC Boxer 1000 chassis. With this chassis, the load on the rear axle when the vehicle was fully laden with stores, building materials and tools, was approaching the maximum permissible. So all subsequent Box Building Vehicles have been produced on the 12-tonne gross BLMC Boxer 1200 chassis which has improved the axle loading and increased the payload by over one-and-a-half tonnes. The dual entry on the prototypes limited the available space in the tool compartment. This was subsequently altered to a single entry and a higher roof was provided.

The new vehicle cab can accommodate three men in relative luxury in comparison with the earlier vehicles. The cabs are fitted with seats covered in brushed nylon upholstery, keeping pace with the seating in most private cars. A folding detachable writing table is mounted centrally on the dashboard and can be stowed behind the passenger seat when not in use. The Power Take Off (PTO) controls are located within easy reach of the driver and the PTO indicator is mounted on the dashboard. The PTO engagement and engine speed-up is achieved using the vehicle's pneumatic system. A PTO/handbrake interlock system is fitted to prevent possible damage caused by the inadvertent driving off of the vehicle with the PTO still engaged. In addition, the PTO cannot be engaged unless the handbrake is first applied.

The compartment located behind the driver's cab provides stowage for tools and smaller items of stores on open shelves. These shelves can be sub-divided to suit the particular requirements of the operators. The welfare area is supplied with 110-volt power points and stowage shelves for an electric kettle and a hotplate/grill unit. The larger of the two external lockers located on the offside of the tool compartment is designed for stowing up to 10 cement bags. The smaller locker is ideal for storing small heavy items such as the steels for the hydraulic roadbreaker.

Moving to the rear of the vehicle there is a large open platform fitted with dropsides and tailboard. Lowering the side and tailboards and removing the detachable support pillars affords a clear unobstructed view of the open platform when the hydraulic crane is being used.

The crane fitted to the majority of these vehicles is either a TICO K 450 or a Steiner HSM 4000, each capable of lifting a one tonne load at 4 metres (1 ton at 13 ft) outreach. The crane is positioned just behind the rear axle to give access to any point around the platform; particular efforts have been made to provide the maximum outreach over the rear of the platform where most of the Box Building parties' work is carried out. The cranes have the advantage of being able to provide an almost vertical lift over the rear of the vehicle using the hydraulically operated dip-arm extension; extremely useful when accurate positioning of Frames and Covers is required. The crane controls are duplicated at each side
of the vehicle, which enables the operator to avoid any blind spots.

Every vehicle is supplied with a spoil skip of approximately 1 tonne capacity. As some of you may know there have been problems with the skips supplied with the earlier vehicles. There is a modification on its way for these skips. The latest vehicles are issued with a completely new design of skip which will overcome the problems found with the earlier types.

A 70 lb class hydraulic road breaker with associated steels is available to break up the hardest of surfaces. The road breaker is supplied with 15 metres (50 ft) of hose which is permanently coupled to a live centre hose reel housed in a locker at the right-hand rear of the vehicle. By the time this article is published, all the existing road breaker coaxial hoses will have been modified to twin hoses, which will eliminate the unfortunate and rather frequent hose failures which have occurred in the past.

Two 32-amp sockets are located at the rear of the vehicle to power any 1 10-volt tools which may be required by Box Building parties. Power is supplied via a hydraulically driven 110 V, 2.5 kVA alternator which is mounted between the chassis members near the rear of the vehicle.

Last, but not least, a 180 litre (40 gallons) capacity water tank is supplied with outlets accessible on both sides of the vehicle. For further information on the Box Building Vehicle Type III see TIs J3 E0041 and J3 B0076.

The main storage compartment and welfare area

The large external locker - suitable for stowing cement bags in


At the rear of the vehicle - the road breaker and 110 volt sockets. This photograph was taken before the modification to the road breaker hose.

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Last revised: February 07, 2021