Farm Collector


Cross-Country Ink, Inc., Box 3660, Los Angeles, California

This well-preserved ‘van’, which will be 50 years old
next year, was on the first leg of an around-the-world tour and had
just been unloaded from an ocean-going freighter in San Francisco,
California, where it was on display along The Embarcardero . only a
stone’s throw from the famous Fisherman’s Wharf.

In talking to the very obliging three-man crew (driver,
mechanic, and I presume relief driver) whose accents gave away
their New Zealand origin, I learned that the truck is to cross the
United States this summer and will visit several steam shows; they
had no definite itinerary, however. When they asked me for
suggestions, I of course put in a ‘plug’ for my own
favorite show, the Midwest Old Settlers and Steam Threshermens
Reunion that meets in Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, over Labor Day weekend. I
imagine though that the Britannia may be as far east as Williams
Grove by then!

Top speed of this rig is 16 miles per hour. The fuel is slab
wood, and a supply of it is kept in a small bin behind the driver.
The body on the rear provides very comfortable living quarters for
the crew. I was told that England’s Foden Motor Company, which
built this beautiful vehicle, is still building trucks …. but now
they are all diesels!

The truck’s arrival in San Francisco was very timely, as
opposite it across the street was stored Mr. Alan Pegler’s
‘Flying Scotsman’ train where it had been stored for the
winter. The familiar green 4-6-2 steam locomotive and cream-colored
cars were being made ready for a regularly scheduled 3-mile
sightseeing trip along the waterfront to the Oakland Bay Bridge
…. a service which is now operational. Courtesy of F. Clayton
Snyder, 6633 North Drake Avenue, Lincolnwood, Ill. 60645.


Britannia is a 1926 Foden Steam Wagon (truck) which is being
driven, solely under its own power, round the world by two
Englishmen. The aim of the tour is to encircle the globe, thus
creating a record of being the first steam powered land contrivance
to do so.

Britannia left London, England, on October 16th, 1969, and has
traveled through France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Luxemburg,
Italy, Yugoslavia, Greece, Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, West
Pakistan, India and Australia. The vehicle is now undertaking the
last stage of the trip and traveling west to east across the United
States of America. To date, 15,000 miles have been covered, some 75
tons of coal have been burnt, and 100,000 gallons of water


San Francisco
St. Louis
Los Angeles*
Kansas City
New Orleans
New York
*Present location.

Sponsored from England by Balfour Williamson, (a London merchant
bank), and several other British companies, the two young
Englishmen are now approaching American companies to sponsor this
leg of the tour by promoting their products.

The United States advertising and business contact is:

Cross-Country Ink, Inc.,
P. O. Box 3660 Los Angeles, California 90028 Telephone (213)

British Press Agents:
M. G. Stevens
Rodmersham Green, Sittingbourne, Kent England


Michael List Brain
Leader of the tour, and driver of Britannia
Age 26
Home address: Kent, England
Profession: Journalist

David Trussell
Stoker of Britannia
Age 22
Home address: Birmingham, England
Profession: Chemical Engineer


6 Ton overtype steam wagon (truck), built 1926 by Fodens
Weight :  8 tons
Length:   25 feet
Width:    7 feet
Height:   12 feet
Speed:   6-30 mph
Fuel: Bituminous coal. Approximate
consumption: 8 miles per 100 lbs., 6 gallons water per mile.

Boiler: Hand fired, locomotive type. Pressure 220 lbs. per sq.

Engine: 2 cylinder compound 49 B.H.P. Reversible.

Transmission: 3 speeds, chain drive.

Braking: Mechanical foot brakes, screw operated parking brake
and reversible engine.

Tyres: solid rubber

Original purpose: general haulage in England.

Crew: 2 man crew required; one driver (engineer) and one

Some 3,000 similar vehicles were built in England between 1903
and 1930. About 10 wagons of this type still exist.

Body: Period box van, fitted during rebuilding in 1968,
containing 4 berth camper equipped with all modern facilities.
(e.g., hot and cold water, refrigerator, gas cooler, electric
services, etc.)

Departure date: 16th October 1969, from the London Motor

Estimated return: February 1973, London

Mileage to date: 15,000

Estimated mileage to completion: 8,000 (i.e. 23,000 total)

  • Published on Sep 1, 1972
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