That’s because the German workhorse now has a readily available railroad model, able to pull up to 1,000 tonnes of railway equipment – which answers the ubiquitous question of is this vehicle able to do anything?
The versatile machinery has been seen all around the world doing everything – as its versatile chassis and iconic appearance can morph into versions directed to anything from firefighting to forest maintenance. Now Mercedes is closing another loophole by introducing the railroad-ready version of the Unimog during the InnnoTrans rail transport exposition in Germany. Mercedes has had rail-capable versions of the Unimog in the past, but the U 423 is making an appearance in Germany with additional updates and tweaks. It can be legally exported to China or Russia and even has a built-in fire detection and extinguishing system, meaning it can go inside rail tunnels.
The Unimog can be used on the road as well because it features special hydraulically retractable bogies for the rail tracks – Mercedes states that access is as easy as stopping at a railroad crossing and lowering the gear in a few minutes. The range of capabilities include maintenance and inspection, as well as towing and shunting rail vehicles. Its heart and soul is a 5.1-liter turbodiesel inline-four engine packing 231 horsepower and 664 pound-feet of torque, allowing it to reach a maximum speed of 50 km/h (31 miles per hour). Its capabilities include shunting up to 1,000 tonnes of rail cars, assisted by the rubber tires providing motive force against the ground.