GPO Vehicles

Make Morris
Model FGK80
Type Box Building Vehicle Type 1 (Morris)
Body Builder With 1 ton HIAB Crane
Use Box Building Duties
Registration Number EYV 192C
Fleet Number Ranges 19090 (385 GXF) 1963 - Prototype
200405 to 200480 (EYV 158C - 233C) 1965 (Papworth)
201109 to 201186 (JYO 830D - 907D) 1966 (Redhill)
202240 to 202249 (NYV 804E - 813E) 1967 (Redhill)
Date of picture October 1965

General description and facilities
This vehicle is designed for two-man parties employed on box building. The vehicle should be equipped with a 110v generator and electrically operated mechanical aids, i.e. a road breaker, a submersible pump, a cement mixer and a drill.  Immediately behind the two-man cab is a lockable compartment to give security to mechanical aids, tools, protective clothing, etc.  There is a water tank with a capacity of approximately 27 gallons so that clean water is available for cement and concrete mixing. A hydraulic HIAB crane of 1ton capacity is fitted between the forward compartment and the rear platform.  This crane will lift loads in the range 9cwt. at 11ft. 6in. radius (using the outer hook and the manual extension on the boom.) to 1ton at 5ft. radius.  Loads in excess of 15cwt. must be lifted on the inner hook.  The removable rear corner posts and drop sides facilitate loading and unloading operations.  The load should be placed as far forward on the platform as possible and must not exceed 2tons; loads exceeding this should be removed in more than one journey.
External under slung lockers provide storage for propane cylinders, paraffin containers and road lamps, etc.  An air-tight locker built into the off-side of the forward compartment is for the storage of bags of cement.


Box Builder's Vehicle
Taken from External Plant News - No. 2 October 1966

Until recently, Areas were equipped with rather inadequate vehicles for Box Building parties.  These vehicles were not purpose-built and offered poor accommodation for sand, ballast and tools.  A vehicle has been designed to remove these failings, to take advantage of the power tools now available and provide better crew accommodation, which should lead to more efficient operations on jointing chamber construction and maintenance.

The vehicle has a two seat cab, behind which is an enclosed compartment for tools and mechanical aids, and has a translucent roof to give maximum light.  All the large tools provided are electrically driven, the power being supplied by a propane driven 110V generator.  Propane fuel is not so inflammable as petrol so that the generator can be run in this enclosed compartment by using an exhaust extension.  The major tools in the vehicle kit are a road breaker, hammer drill, water pump, concrete mixer (carried on rear platform) concrete vibrator, flood lamps, together with all necessary hand tools.

Below the enclosed tool compartment on both sides of the vehicle are compartments to accommodate other items, such as red lamps, paraffin cans, propane cylinders, cones reflecting and bags of cement.  Clean water is an essential requirement for cement mixing and a 30 gallon tank is provided at the rear of the tool compartment.

The rear platform - which has drop sides for easy access - carries storage bins for sand and ballast, skips for the carriage and disposal of spoil, cement mixer, frames and covers, shuttering, etc.

For handling heavy items such as frames and covers of approximately 5.5cwt., skips full of spoil approximately 10cwt., an hydraulic powered crane is provided.  This has a three section folding jib of one ton maximum load, and can be controlled from both sides of the vehicle.  Stabilising jacks are provided either side of the crane mounting to steady the vehicle when the crane is in use.

The colour of the vehicle is Traffic Yellow.  This is a safety measure, as in course of its work, the vehicle spends much of its time parked at the roadside, or in the carriageway and in dull weather or against dark backgrounds, the bright colour makes the vehicle as conspicuous as possible to other road users.

The new Box Building vehicle offers great advances in tool, material, and crew accommodation over the stores carrying vehicle previously used for these jobs. This together with the mechanical aid facilities should lead to more efficient operation of Box Building parties.  Some 180 of these vehicles are being obtained most of which have by now been delivered to Telephone Areas.

A general view of the Box Building Vehicle.  Things to note are the 'Angle Cabs' for safety in entering and leaving the vehicle, considerable outreach obtainable with the crane, and the large volume of tool and mechanical aid accommodation.
In the foreground are skips for carrying and tipping spoil. At the back are storage skips and the cement mixer. The corner posts on the platform are removable giving an unobstructed manoeuvring space.
The tool compartment. The 110 V generator is in the foreground and can be operated in the vehicle. All the larger power tools have their own carrying cases. The crane is stowed in the travelling position.

B 3853
Issue 1, July 1970

Box Building Vehicle Type 1

1 General
This instruction describes the Box Building Vehicle Type 1, which is designed for two man parties employed on box building.

2 General Description
The vehicle is a Morris FGK80 with a diesel engine and two man cab.  The cab is fitted with inset angled doors for safety in entering or leaving the and with low level quarter lights to improve forward visibility.  The nearside step is constructed from expanded metal in place of the standard rubber covered type.  The chassis is extended to accommodate an enclosed forward compartment, a 30 cwt (see para. 7) HIAB No. 293 lorry loader and an open rear platform.  Two rotating amber beacons controlled by switches in the cab are fitted to the roof of the forward compartment.

Fig .2

Fig. 3

3 Forward Compartment
The forward compartment (Fig 2) provides enclosed storage space for tools, stores and 3 bags of cement.  Access is by means of a roller shutter and a drop-down board fitted with a folding step (Fig. 3).  The compartment has lights controlled by a switch in the cab and a translucent roof.  Three shelves along the forward wall provide space for tools and stores.  All shelves are fitted with substantial wooden fences and the first shelf has access through a trap on the near side (Fig 2) to allow easy loading and unloading of long tools.  Heavy mechanical aids are stored on the floor, which is covered with aluminium tread plate, mechanical aids are stored on the floor.

The 2KW generator (Electric, Orange No. 2) fits underneath the bottom shelf close to the doorway. It is run on propane fuel and may be operated inside the compartment using the extension silencer, the power leads being extended to the electrically operated tools as required.  The road breaker box is secured to the rails on the rear wall.

In order to keep the cement dry and to prevent cement dust from fouling the interior of the compartment, the cement locker (fig.4) has separate access doors on the off side and there is no connection between the locker and the interior of the compartment.

Fig. 4

4. Lockers
Two under floor lockers are attached to the forward compartment.  The nearside locker (Fig 2) holds the spare cylinder of propane and paraffin for the road caution lamps.  The offside locker (Fig 4) holds twelve Lamps Road Caution.

5. Security
The cab is fitted with normal vehicle locks.  The roller shutter of the box-body is retained by a padlock, and the lockers are fitted with budget locks.

6. Water Tank
A 27 gallon water tank is attached to the rear of the forward compartment.  The captive screw on filler cap is at the nearside.  Buckets may be placed underneath the drain cock to which a length of hose pipe may be fixed as required.  Notice plates on each end of the tank warn users that the is not for for drinking (Figs. 3 and 4).

Drinking water should be carried separately in Bottles, Polythene, No. 2.

In cold weather the tank should be drained each night and on no account should any sort of anti-freeze be put into it.  The purpose of the tank is to carry clean water for mixing concrete and mortar.  The tank should be filled at the TEC (before commencing each days work) using a hose pipe attached to the water supply.

7. Rear Platform
The rear platform, measuring 6' 8" long by 7' wide, is fitted with drop tail and side boards (Fig. 5). The corner posts are removable to enable easy loading from the sides or rear, and to give a clear view between the operator at the crane controls and the man guiding the load.

A folding step is fitted to the tail board. The whole of the platform is covered with aluminium tread plate.

Fig. 5

8. Crane
The crane (Fig. 6) is fitted centrally on the chassis, between the forward compartment and the rear platform.  It is a two-section folding type, hydraulically powered, with a manual extension of the outer section.  The inner and outer booms are raised by means of two single-acting hydraulic rams controlled by separate levers.  Lowering of the booms is by gravity, the rate of descent being controlled by the degree of movement of the appropriate lever.  Rotation, or slewing of the crane is by means of a rack and pinion, the rack being actuated by a double acting cylinder controlled by the third lever.  All the crane's controls are duplicated so that the crane maybe operated from either side of the vehicle. Instruction plates are displayed adjacent to each set of controls.

Fig. 6

Fig. 7

Fig. 8

The base of the crane is extended to two stabiliser legs each of which consists of a cylinder with a manually operated piston.  Oil is allowed to flow by gravity from the reservoir in the base of the crane via the control valve at the top of the cylinder into the cylinder.  When the foot of the piston touches the ground, shutting the valve forms a hydraulically locked support leg.  The leg is retracted by opening the valve, raising the leg manually to its full extent by means of the handle, and then closing the valve.

The working pressure of the hydraulic system is 1990 psi.  The oil pump is driven from a side power take off on the gearbox and is engaged by means of a lever adjacent to the gear lever (Fig 8).  A pilot light on the instrument panel indicates when the PTO is engaged (Fig. 9).

As first issued the crane was et to lift 1 ton at a radius of 5 feet, but this may be increased to 30 cwt at 5 feet (see para. 12.1).

Fig. 9

9. Crane lifting capacity
Two hooks are fitted to the crane, loads over 1 ton should be lifted by means of the inner hook.

When modified to the MT Works specification, quoted in Paragraph 12.1 the lift at the full extension of 11' 6" is 12.75 cwt.  At a radius if 10' the lift is 15 cwt, at 7' radius 21 cwt and at 5' radius 30 cwt.

10. Lifting tackle
Wherever possible standard sling chains and shackles should be used. The slings and shackles required for a box builder are:-

  • Chains, Sling, Four Leg with stirrups and shackles  (EI, Tools and Transport, Mechanical Aids, B1010 refers).  Safe working load with legs at 90 degrees is 10'.

  • Slings, four legs, with lifting keys (EI, Tools and Transport, Mechanical Aids, N0506 refers).  Safe working load is 5.5 cwt.

Skips Stacking and Skips Tipping were designed in conjunction with the vehicle for the transport of materials and spoil.

The Three Skips Stacking can be used for sand and ballast to a total quantity of 18 cwts.  When empty the skips may be stacked to give more room on the rear platform.  By using the skips solely for ballast and sand these materials are kept clean enabling mortar and concrete of good quality to be produced.

The two Skips Tipping are for the conveyance of spoil from site. Each holds 10 cwt of spoil.  When loaded they should be positioned towards the front of the platform.  They may be placed one on top of the other when empty.

11. Operation of the crane
11.1 Safety Precautions. Before using the crane the following safety precautions must be observed:-

11.1.1 Ensure that the handbrake is firmly on and that the vehicle is safely parked.

11.1.2 On arrival at the site use the rotating amber beacons until all warning signs, cones, etc, have been positioned. The beacons should then be switched off. If, however, it is considered that the situation requires the continuous use of flashing beacons those fixed to the vehicle may be used for short periods by running the engine to avoid discharging the battery. For all other continuous duty Beacons Electric Green numbers 1 or 2 should be employed together with the required battery and/or generator.

11.1.3 The stabiliser legs must be lowered and locked to prevent movement of the chassis under transverse load conditions. On soft ground stout boards should be placed under the stabiliser feet to spread the load.

11.1.4 The operator must make sure that there is no danger of fouling overhead power or telephone lines, street lighting or any other obstruction and also that the crane will not be operated so as to extend beyond the guarded working area where it might constitute a hazard to the public.

11.2 After the crane has been used and stowed in the normal carrying position, operators must ensure that:-

11.2.1 The stabilisers have been raised and secured by the handle.

11.2.2 The PTO is disengaged before driving away.

11.3 Raising the crane to the working position
Having carried out safety precautions the power take off is engaged by depressing the clutch with engine at tick over and moving the PTO lever 180 degrees clockwise direction.  A warning light is displayed on the instrument panel when the is engaged.  The clutch is then released making the hydraulic circuit operative.  The method of unfolding the crane is as follows:-

11.3.1 The booms are raised from the folded and stored position by moving the top control lever towards the rear of the vehicle. Should this control move towards the front of the vehicle to raise the booms then a modification is required (see para. 12.2).

The booms should be raised to approximately 30 degrees above the horizontal as indicated by the small triangular hinged plate, situated on top of the inner boom, just reaching the end of its travel.

11.3.2 Operate the bottom control lever to slew the booms so that they lie in line with the body.

11.3.3 Operate the central lever to raise the outer boom to its maximum extension.

11.3.4. Operate the top lever to lower the inner boom slowly until the outer boom passes the vertical position and falls forward under gravity.

11.3.5 Operate the central lever to lower the outer boom.

11.3.6 Extend the outer boom by removing the "B" clip from the retaining pin, pulling out the extension and refitting the retaining pin and "B" clip.

11.4 Stowing the crane
The sequence of operations for stowing the crane is as follows:-

11.14.1 Retract the manual outer boom extension.

11.14.2 Slew the crane so that the booms lie in line with the vehicle.

11.14..3 Elevate the inner boom to approximately 300 above the horizontal.

11.14.4. Fully extend the outer boom.

11.4.5 Further elevate the inner boom until the outer boom pas the vertical position and commences to fall under gravity.

11.4.6 Lower the outer boom until it rest on the top of the inner boom.

11.4.7 Slew the booms so that they lie vertically above the stowed position.

11.4.8 Lower the booms into the stowed position.

11.4.9 Retract the stabiliser legs.

11.4.10 Disengage the power

11.5 General notes on the operation of the crane
The operator should manipulate the crane as smoothly as possible at all times. The controls are spring loaded to the off' position.  The rate of movement of the crane is proportional to the displacement of the controls. The initial movement of the controls should be by steady pressure against the spring loading while the operator watches the load for movement. In this way it is possible to exercise very delicate manoeuvres such as are required for placing frames and covers in position.

More than one control may be operated at a time as for instance during lowering and slewing.

It is not possible to overload the crane as safety valves are incorporated, but it is possible to pick up a load at a short radius and extend the radius to a point where the crane will not sustain the load.

In this case the safety valve operates and the load is automatically lowered at a fixed rate but out of the operator's control. The load may be brought under control again by reducing the radius before the load reaches the ground.

All staff should stand well clear of the load at all times. The load must never be passed over anyone's head.

When lifting a load from the forward end of the platform it may be necessary to use the inner hook first and then transfer to the outer hook, reversing this procedure when loads are to be placed well forward.

When lowering a load over the rear of the vehicle care should be taken to fold up the tailboard step, to lower the side board adjacent to the controls in use, and to remove the rear corner post on that side.

12. Modifications
There have been two modifications to the crane since the vehicle was first put into service:-

  • Increase of lifting power of crane from 20 cwt to 30 cwt.  See MT specification MT5/70(T).

  • Alteration of inner boom controls.  See MT specification MT5/70(T).

13. Maintenance
The instructions regarding maintenance and repair of of the vehicle including responsibilities for cleaning, lubrication and repair are Engineering Instructions, Tools and Transport, Vehicles, L0011 and L0021.

Maintenance instructions for lorry loader are given in L0025.

14. Testing and Inspection
For instructions regarding testing and inspection of crane see EI, Tests and Inspections, Routine Q3011.

For tests and inspection of the lifting tackle see Routine, Q3030 and Q3031.

15. Use of vehicle
A description of the way in which jointing chambers are built using the vehicle is given in the Box Builders Handbook.

16. Vehicle Tools
These are kept in the vehicle cab and consist of starting handle, wheel brace and jack.

17. Fire Extinguisher and First Aid Box
These are both situated on the passengers side of the cab.

18. Spare wheel
This is carried centrally under the rear of the chassis.

19. Loads
The kerb weight of the vehicle is 3 tons 17 cwt 3 qrs. The gross moving weight is 7 tons.  This gives a total pay load of 2 tons 19 cwts 1 qr allowing 3 cwt for personnel.

The load on the rear platform must not exceed 2.25 tons and should be placed as far forward as possible.  This load is also limited by other tools and stores carried and the Total GMW of 7 tons must not be exceeded.

20. Towing capacity
A light towing hitch is fitted able to tow a gross trailed weight of 45cwts.  The gross grain weight must not. exceed 8 tons, which, with a full vehicle load, limits the trailed weight to 1 ton. See D0031.

21. Signwriting
Standard inscriptions for signwriting are given in C0015.

An extract from
The Post Office Electrical Engineers' Journal
Volume 60, Part 2 - Dated July 1967

The Development of a Box-Building Vehicle

A vehicle has been designed to meet the needs of a self-contained party employed on the construction and maintenance of jointing chambers. The final design represents a practical attempt to rationalize the handling methods involved in this class of work.

FOR a long time box-building operations by direct labour have been executed using a variety of vehicles, none of which was specially designed for the purpose.  The facilities for storing materials, tools and water were limited, and no convenient place was available for protective clothing, etc.

The most difficult job which faces the box-builder is the placing of heavy frames and covers, including "unit-type" ones weighing up to 5.5cwt each. This is because the positioning of a frame on a prepared base is a precise operation, and the heavy weight must be lowered to an exact position. In some cases vehicles have been specially adapted, e.g. an overhead longitudinal beam has been fitted on gantries to assist in handling the heavier loads.

Two aids to handling have been used: a simple jib and the gantry with fixed beam. Both these handling aids are very limited in their application, in that off-loading can be done only from the tailboard and the area within which a load can be positioned is very small. Furthermore, the vehicle itself must be precisely positioned with relation to the jointing chamber, but this is not always possible when the jointing chamber is on the footpath or grass verge. Similar difficulties are encountered when placing the shells of cross-connexion
cabinets in situ.

The prototype vehicle was designed to provide:-

  • covered accommodation for tools, mechanical aids, cement, etc.,

  • open-platform accommodation for sand aggregate, spoil carrying, and heavy items such as frames and covers, and

  • a lifting device able to traverse over an area rather than being limited to a geometrical locus.

The box half-body and open rear platform fulfilled the first two design requirements, while the chain-operated hoist on a traversing beam supported by a gantry fulfilled the third.

The body was built by the staff of the Motor Transport Branch, Post Office Engineering Department, on a 4ton forward-control chassis. Racking was fixed in the box compartment to provide adequate accommodation for tools and equipment. The vehicle was equipped with a full complement of 110-volt mechanical aids deriving power from a propane-gas-operated 110-volt 2 kW generator, gas operation being introduced to dispense with the need to carry inflammable fuels inside the tool compartment. Consequently, external lockers were provided to carry the spare propane cylinder, paraffin cans and road-caution lamps.

Containers were provided to carry materials so that they might be kept clean (an essential requirement for the production of sound concrete), together with containers, designed for ease of tipping, to be used to dispose of spoil.

The mechanical-handling arrangements on the rear platform relied upon a gantry-frame supporting a retractable pin-jointed main beam made up from two 3in. x 1.5in. channel sections, back to back with sufficient space to allow a fixed pin to pass through the retractable beam.  The rear end of the beam was suspended from the gantry to which the traversing arrangement was attached. The two small trolleys which made up the traversing gear were operated by means of a wire rope, attached to both ends of the upper trolley, passing down through the framework of the gantry, via pulley wheels, to a worm-and-wheel unit mounted below the rear platform. The actuating rod was operated by means of a cranked handle which could be fitted at either side of the vehicle.

The field trial proved that, although the principle of a self-contained gas-operated generator to power the mechanical aids required was successful, the lifting gear was unsuitable. The frame lacked stability, which could only be provided by extra ironwork at high level, but this was undesirable. The traversing mechanism tended to jam and required too much effort from the operator, particularly when the vehicle was sloping because of cambered roads. It was decided, therefore, to improve the handling device and to mechanize its operations completely; a 1ton hydraulic crane was chosen for this purpose.

The vehicle which has evolved from the prototype is a purpose-built vehicle based on a 4ton chassis.

The crane is mounted centrally, allowing use over a wide arc. The rear-platform sides and tailboard were made to drop down, and the corner support posts were made removable for ease of loading. The opportunity was taken to try the new safety colour for engineering vehicles: Traffic Yellow to British Standard 368.

Handling Aid
The 1ton crane is hydraulic, and the drive pump is operated from the vehicle power take-off. The articulated boom has two parts: an outer boom with a short manually-operated extension, and an inner boom.

Three independently-operated control handles are provided on both sides of the vehicle, inter-connected by means of a mechanical linkage. The separate functions are:-

  • to raise and lower the main boom,

  • to raise and lower the outer boom, and

  • to slew the boom in either direction.

In order to prevent damage to the tool compartment, rotation of the boom is limited to 180 degrees. This enables operations to be carried out to the rear and at both sides of the vehicle. The maximum lifting capacities of the crane are 9cwt at 11ft 6in. radius and 1ton at 5ft radius.

Two stabilizer legs are positioned one on each side of the main structure of the crane to increase its stability and to provide a firm base for operations, thereby preventing undue stresses being brought to bear on the vehicle chassis and suspension. Each stabilizer consists principally of a cylinder containing a manually-operated piston which is lowered until its foot rests on the ground, thus allowing the cylinder to fill with hydraulic oil by gravity from the main reservoir tank. The shut-off valve is then closed, thereby forming a hydraulically-locked support leg. The stabilizer is returned to the travelling position by opening the valve and manually lifting the leg upwards, thus causing the hydraulic oil to return to the reservoir tank.  Finally, the shut-off valve is closed to lock it in position.

Water Tank
The water tank on the prototype vehicle was made of fibre-glass with a capacity of approximately 40 gallons, but, due to lack of space, this had to be replaced on the current vehicle by a metal tank of approximately 27 gallons.

The containers for carrying materials were re-designed to allow them to be stacked into each other, and the capacity of the tipping skips was increased.

Towing Facility
The vehicle is provided with a light towing attachment to enable loads up to 45cwt to be towed.

The total complement of these box-building vehicles will be 154 - roughly three per Telephone Area. They should go far towards improving productivity in this sphere of work by increasing the speed of handling materials and reducing the physical strain of the work.


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