Ice one, Cyrille, Spread Zeppelin and The Greatest Snow Van – meet our newly-named gritting trucks

Published 14th March 2019


Sandwell Council’s gritting trucks have been given new names – drawing inspiration from local legends Cyrille Regis, Dame Julie Walters and Josie Lawrence.

One of the newly-named trucks - Ice One, Cyrille - pays tribute to the late great WBA forward. Another honours the Smethwick-born actress - Dame Julie Salters and a third is named after Old Hill-born actress and comedian - Frozie Lawrence.

The names, chosen by the public and council highways staff, also reference rock legends  Led Zeppelin (Spread Zeppelin) the blockbuster film The Greatest Showman (The Greatest Snow Van) and flamboyant superstar Elton John (Melt-on John).

The trucks named in tribute to locals Cyrille, Dame Julie, Led Zep and Josie will all grit routes associated with them.

You can see photos of the trucks with their names on our Facebook page.

Ice One, Cyrille will be seen treating the routes around The Hawthorns in West Bromwich, Dame Julie Salters will be keeping the roads safe around Smethwick and the truck named in honour of Josie will grit routes in Old Hill. Spread Zeppelin will treat roads in West Bromwich, where frontman Robert Plant was born.

The full list of the nine newly named vehicles:

  • The Greatest Snow Van
  • Spread Zeppelin (grits West Bromwich)
  • Melt-on John
  • Rule Gritannia
  • Ice One, Cyrille (grits West Bromwich, including Halfords Lane)
  • Frozie Lawrence (covers Old Hill)
  • Frosty the Snowvan
  • Dame Julie Salters (covers the area around Dame Julie’s old school, Holly Lodge)
  • Ctrl+Salt+Delete

And the council’s small gritter trailer and pick-up truck have been dubbed Salty and Flash – names chosen by a local boy who loves watching the gritting trucks work in the winter.

Sandwell Council’s cabinet member for highways and environment Councillor David Hosell said: “I just love the names people have suggested for the gritting trucks. We asked people to come up with something a bit different and we had some fantastic suggestions.

“We’ve chosen names that we don’t think have been used by other councils – especially the names that pay tribute to the wonderful Cyrille, Dame Julie and Josie.”

He added: “It’s been an unusual winter – nothing like the low temperatures and snowfall we’ve seen over the past couple of years.

“We were hoping to unveil the gritting trucks’ new names in the middle of a cold snap, but unfortunately it just didn’t come this year.

“The gritting team have completed 39 gritting runs since last November. They are incredibly hard-working and I’d just like to thank them for the effort they put in to keep our roads safe in the winter.

“The team remain on call until the end of March and later if we need them – but looking at the forecast, we might have to wait until next winter to see the trucks with their new livery on the roads.”

Sandwell is ranked number 1 for overall public satisfaction across highway and transportation services out of 12 Midlands councils, and third for overall public satisfaction across highway and transportation services out of 31 metropolitan councils nationally (source – 2018 NHT survey).

Every time Sandwell's gritters go out, they cover around 260 miles of Sandwell's roads, each time putting down around 55 tonnes of salt.

Last winter (2017/18), the crew completed 91 runs covering 23,660 miles (the distance from Sandwell to Christchurch in New Zealand and back) using around 5,000 tonnes of salt.