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The Unimog Road-Railer: on the right track

  24.09.2008    

InnoTrans in Berlin is a long-established platform for the rail industry. This year, the Trade Fair for Transport Technology, Innovative Components, Vehicles, and Systems will attract over 1,600 exhibitors from more than 40 countries to the Berlin exhibition center, where the entire range of rail system technology will be on display. InnoTrans 2008, which is taking place from September 23rd to 26th and thus runs parallel to the IAA Commercial Vehicles exhibition in Hanover, will focus on the major product segments railway infrastructure, interiors, public transport, and tunnel construction. These segments will also feature road vehicles that can be used on rails, which have traditionally enriched the large-scale vehicle exhibition held on the approx. 3,500 m rail track exhibition area. Mercedes-Benz will present four differently equipped Unimog road-railers on an exhibition area of 350 square metres.

The Unimog on rails: implement carrier and shunting vehicle
One of the essential features for the successful utilisation of the Unimog as a road-rail vehicle is its compact axle design. With the help of special rims and tyres, the Unimog can drive on its own wheels on both standard (1,435 mm) and international broad-gauge tracks, without the need for a separate drive system. The hydraulically retractable rail guiding gear ensures safe guiding of the vehicle on the rails. The Unimog only needs a mere 5m stretch of level track for on- and off-tracking – for the transfer to the next worksite the Unimog can easily take the road.
The standard permanent four-wheel drive system with inter-axle lock, and the separate differential locks in the the front and rear axles make the Unimog ideal for use on rails, as do the single tyres and the close-ratio transmission with eight forward and eight reverse gears, which enables speeds of up to 50 km/h in both directions on the rails.
Through cooperation with internationally renowned body manufacturers the Unimog has become a highly-valued rail vehicle. Depending on the specific customer request, signal light system, dead man’s switches or digital train radio systems can all be installed without any problems.

Diverse implement-carrying expertise
Through its outstanding characteristics as an implement carrier in road maintenance service the Unimog is known worldwide. This excellent implement-carrying expertise is mirrored in applications on the rails. Thanks to the many attachment/mounting points as well as the mechanical and hydraulic drives, an access platform, boom with branch cutter, tunnel brush cleaner or even a snow cutter can be attached to the Unimog and put to work on the rails.

Environmental and economical excellence in shunting
The fact that the Unimog is powered by its road wheels whilst on the rails makes the Unimog the ideal shunting vehicle. Because the frictional coefficient between rubber and steel is much higher than that between steel and steel, the Unimog road-railer can, with a comparatively light gross vehicle weight, achieve an impressive pulling power, and can tow loads up to 1,000 tonnes. The torque converter clutch (available ex factory) increases starting torque, enabling the Unimog to pull away smoothly without wear and tear on the clutch, even with heavy loads in tow.
In general, when the Unimog is used on the rails, it brings with it the high exhaust gas emission standards required for road vehicles. With the environmentally-friendly SCR-technology (BlueTec) the Unimog fulfils the Euro 4 emission standard (Euro 5 from 2009), and has received the green “particle emissions” sticker. With its clearly lower fuel consumption the Unimog road-railer is an environmentally-friendly and economical alternative to a shunting locomotive.

The Exhibits
Unimog U 400 for shunting applications up to 800 tonnes
This Unimog U 400 is truly made for shunting, as it comes with a torque converter clutch, compact axle dimensions for travel on rails with its road wheels and an electronic interface for radio remote control. Its six-cylinder diesel engine delivers 175 kW (238 hp), while the model’s BlueTec technology package enables it to meet the Euro 4 emission standard. The Zwiehoff/Zagro railway technology in this vehicle consists, among other features, of a railway wagon braking system for 52 axles (800 tonnes), automatic coupling rods front and rear with shock absorbers and a radio remote control system for professional shunting with one-person operation. After the trade fair this particular vehicle will be delivered to Deutsche Bahn AG and will be put to work as a shunting vehicle in a DB-Schenker cargo centre.

Unimog U 400 with an aerial platform for catenary maintenance
The Unimog’s hydrostatic drive system for adjusting to the required working speed is a very important feature of the vehicle’s design; especially for the maintenance and repair of the catenary lines. The customised platform, which was manufactured by Ruthmann especially for the Unimog, reaches a working height of 11 metres, has a horizontal range of eight metres, and can be moved in both directions from the platform itself. The Unimog was equipped by Zwiehoff/Zagro with, among other elements, a dead mans switch and signal light system, and can therfore be used as a “heavy-duty auxiliary vehicle” by the Deutsche Bahn AG.

Unimog U 400 with railway crane
This Unimog U 400 with its body and implements represents an innovative solution for catenary installation and diverse track construction operations. This vehicle has a trailing axle that enables it to take on a special railway crane. The crane’s pump is powered by the vehicle’s engine PTO. The Unimog’s hydrostatic drive system allows the operator in the working basket to slowly manoeuvre the vehicle.
The special thing about this body is that the Palfinger crane’s radio remote control system has a remote control system for the Unimog (only active whilst travelling on rails) integrated into it. This enables the user to easily controle the vehicle with just one console. The vehicle also comes with a tandem axle trailer for road and rail use with 13.5 tonnes GVW. This Unimog road-railer was produced for Balfour-Beatty Rail Austria.

Unimog U 400 with boom for free zone cutting
The special features of this Unimog only become apparent when one takes a close look at it. A true trade fair premiere, the vehicle features road-rail tyres that support greater axle loads, which will become available in the third quarter of 2009. This U 400 has a hydrostatic drive for adjusting to the required working speed with a constant engine rpm. The Unimog is equipped with power hydraulic system (available ex factory) to power and control implements. The rear-mounted boom from Mulag is equipped with a height and slewing limiter for operation on rail tracks with catenaries. The vehicle, which will be delivered to the tram authority in Rostock, Germany, will be used mainly for free zone cutting. The vehicle is also equipped with a rail bogie system from Zweiweg for getting round tight curves during operations on tram lines.

True specialists
The Unimog, which enjoys a legendary reputation as a versatile road vehicle, is built by the Special Trucks Division, a type of “plant within a plant” located at the Wörth production facility, the biggest truck manufacturing location in Europe. A total of 750 PBS employees working on a separate production line in Wörth build approximately 2,000 Mercedes-Benz Unimogs each year, as well as 1,000 Mercedes-Benz Econic models - specialized truck chassis that can also be used as road-rail vehicles. The employees in Wörth are familiar with many different business sectors, as the Unimog is used for very diverse and sometimes even extreme applications - whether it’s the new U 20, the U 300, U 400, and U 500 equipment carriers, or the chassis for the all-terrain U 3000, U 4000, and U 5000 series. Along with snow clearing, park maintenance, and other gardening and landscaping applications, Unimogs from Wörth have also proved themselves while fighting forest fires, transplanting trees, shaping ditches, drilling into the ground, carrying out rail shunting operations, and even performing rescues in difficult-to-reach areas. More than 325,000 Unimogs have been built in the 60-year history of this universal motor vehicle.

Key advantages of the Unimog road-railer at a glance

Economic Efficiency Cost-efficient shunting operations thanks to low purchasing, operation and maintenance costs. High flexibility thanks to professional operations on rails as well as on road.

Quick and easy changeover between road and rail On- and off-tracking is possible at any point with a level access to the track (min. length of 5 m). With a hydr. turntable on-tracking is even possible at suitable non-level access points.

The Unimog is driven on rail by its own wheels Cost-efficient and safe driving on rails is realised just with a retractable rail guiding system. No separate driving system (e.g. driven rail axles) is required.

Excellent pulling power thanks to high friction value between rubber and steel The high friction coefficient between the Unimog’s rubber tyre and the steel rails provides excellent traction and allows cost-efficient shunting operations of loads up to 1.000 tonnes.

Fast to the job site by using the road Road speeds of up to 90 km/h get the Unimog to the job site on the fastest and direct route. On rails speeds of up to 50 km/h – both in forward and reverse direction – are possible.

Versatility thanks to on-board power take-offs and mounting areas
Thanks to various power take-offs like the mechanical front PTO (150 kW) and up to 4 separate hydraulic circuits and various implement attachment and mounting areas provided ex-works, the Unimog is a professional implement carrier on road and on rails

Outstanding working and driving comfort
Ergonomic working environment, air-condition, air suspended seats as well as excellent view onto all working areas provide a maximum of comfort and safety for the driver.

Perfect coordination with manufacturers for road-railer conversions Thanks to intensive coordination between Mercedes-Benz and leading international specialists for road-railer conversions, Unimog road-railers are approved systems which are tested according to the stricted standards.

Excellent After-Sales Service With 1.000 service centres worldwide a Unimog dealer is never very far away when you need assistance. Fast and reliable spare parts supply will be provided via the large Mercedes-Benz dealer network.


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