BRS Overland plan shelved
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by CM reporter
BRS OVERLAND'S plan to run a scheduled weekly service to Iran has been shelved—because there isn't enough work for its £175,000 fleet of specially built Leyland Marathons.
Instead, some of the vehicles are doing trunking jobs in Britain and the rest are running out to other Middle Eastern countries on demand.
When BRS Overland was set Up: in a blaze of publicity back at the beginning of November it was announced that two vehicles would leave for Iran every Thursday.
Ten Marathons were bought on the understanding that British Leyland set up special emergency repair stations along the whole length of the route. Leyland was also to increase the tools at established stations and an extra £160,000 worth of spares was injected into the system.
But now Mr Kieron Fielding, BRS group marketing controller, has admitted that the scheduled service has not got off the ground.
"There has been .a general slow-down in traffic to Iran and the original concept is not Operating.
"Obviously, we can't send vehicles out empty and one has to fit in with present conditions. Shipments to other Middle East countries are being made and these are running to meet customers' needs rather than on a set timetable.
"Since the middle of November we have' undertaken 14 trips to the Middle East," said Mr Fielding.
Of Overland's 10 special Marathons three have only just been delivered and will go into service shortly. Two others are being repaired in Tehran after breaking down; their drivers were flown back to Britain.
Three vehicles have just returned from a trip to Baghdad and the remaining two are working in Britain.
Mr Fielding said that a buying 'ban by the Shah of Iran to help the country's balance of payments problems was one of the main reasons why Overland had been unable to put its original plan into operation.
He went on: "I would deny that the original concept was ill-conceived and believe we' would do the same again.
"This does not mean that scheduled services to Iran are finished. We will return to the plan when conditions allow.
"If a customer wants a regular service to Iran then we will provide it."