The Leyland Roadtrain was a range of heavy goods vehicle tractor units manufactured by Leyland Trucks between 1980 and 1990. The nomenclature "T45" refers to the truck range design as a whole and encompasses models such as the lightweight 7.5 ton roadrunner, Freighter (4 wheel rigid truck) constructor (multi axle rigid tipper or mixer chassis-its chassis owing much to the outgoing Scammell 8-wheeler Handyman) and Cruiser (basic spec low weight tractor unit). The Roadtrain itself was a max weight model with distance work in mind.
The cab design was a joint effort between Leyland, BRS and Ogle Design and was seen as the height of modernity when compared with its predecessors, the idea being to have one basic design to replace the various different outgoing models. This did indeed make good economic sense. Ogle Design received a Design Award for the design of the Leyland T-45.
The TL12 engine was dropped early on in the production run, most large fleet buyers choosing the Rolls-Royce engine.
The Roadtrain was available in day and sleeper cabbed form, in high and low datum versions—this refers to the cab height—high datum versions were intended as long haul vehicles with higher mounted cabs and more internal space. 6x2 versions were built in high cab form only on a chassis that was basically that of the ageing Scammell trunker.
In 1986 the high roofed Roadtrain interstate was introduced, a top of the range long distance truck with standing room inside.
The Roadtrain was a common sight throughout most of the 1980s, with a great many of the major fleet users in the UK such as Tesco, Blue Circle (unusually with high datum day cabs) and BRS running them. The Firm of Swain's based at Rochester in Kent had a number of roadtrains in its fleet which enjoyed a comparatively long service life (up until the late 1990s) before being replaced by the newer DAF 85.
Production ended in 1990 with the sale of Leyland Trucks to Dutch firm DAF, although as a postscript DAF relaunched the model in low datum form (it was already manufacturing the large DAF 95) as the DAF 80, using the Roadtrain cab with the DAF 330 ATi engine (quite ironic, given that this engine had its roots in the Leyland O.680). This model was produced for a relatively short time until 1993 with the launch of the brand new cabbed DAF 85.
The army made use of an 8x6 version of Roadtrain as a hook loader until recently. This is known to the British Army as DROPPS, Demountable rack offload and pickup system which has seen action Iraq and Afghanistan and are still in service.