North East Derbyshire District Council is one of the growing number of local authorities that are using the Ransomes Highway 3 triple mower for maintaining grassed areas in their local area. A fleet of five Highway 3s was delivered by local Ransomes Jacobsen dealer, Platts Harris Ltd, in the spring of 2010 and are now midway through their second season.
The Council's Grounds Maintenance section is responsible for a large geographical area that stretches to Sheffield in the north, Shirland in the south and from junction 30 to junction 28 of the M1 to the east. Responsibilities include grass verges, highway verges, open space on housing estates, the four cemeteries in the area and other green infrastructure such sports pitches and parks.
Darren Mitchell, grounds maintenance manager has worked in the local authority sector for more than 25 years and is clearly impressed with the Highway 3.
"We looked at the offerings from the three major players, but settled on the Highway 3 for several reasons; the first being its compact size which makes it very manoeuvrable, especially when we're cutting grass on housing estates and need to negotiate through bollards, gates and around trees. The all-wheel drive gives us good grip and the TST traction control system is an excellent safety feature. Finally, the service from Platts Harris has been very good.
"We operate with a three-man mobile team; one manning the Highway and two with hand mowers tidying up the areas that it can't reach. Unlike many local authorities we have maintained our cutting regime at 12 cuts per season, which makes the Highway 3 the ideal machine, in my opinion."
Phil Bardhill is the Transport department's mower technician and he is particularly impressed with the swing-out centre cutting unit, which is a unique feature only available on Ransomes municipal triple mowers.
The Highway 3 was designed with maximum consultation from all the stakeholders with an interest in the mower. The Ransomes design engineers' paid particular attention to the needs of the operator, a factor that has impressed Gary Fretwell, an experienced operator who has used Ransomes ride-on mowers for the past 20 years.
"I can't fault it," he said, "Like Phil, being able to move the centre unit out is a great idea and helps when washing down or removing debris. The seat is really comfortable; the machine is very easy to operate and the armrest control is really excellent. The end protectors on the cutting units help protect them from damage and the daily checks are easy because everything is easily accessible."
For more information on Ransomes products visit www.ransomesjacobsen.com