Road-Rail Vehicles (RRV’s) come in many forms from dedicated radio-remote control units with all wheel steering and drive, through transport models based on pickups and vans, mid-sized shunters and tools carriers and onto larger scale modified trucks, cranes and earth movers.  Among the longest serving and certainly one of the most versatile is the Mercedes-Benz Unimog which has been in use as an alternative to locomotives since the 1960’s.  The Unimog has been so successful here because it offers a host of additional options beyond just the shunting role with the flexibility of multiple mounting point points for tools and equipment providing the ideal basis for a customised RRV solution.

 Whatever the base road vehicle developed for dual road/rail, each of them can offer benefits over a traditional ‘rail-bound’ machines:-

For sheer practicality, the ability to hop on and off the rails, whether for mainline maintenance or industrial infrastructure is invaluable.  Driving by road to a suitable rail access point for entry to a working site ensures that section of rail is kept closed for the shortest possible time, unlike a rail-bound vehicle that would have to travel the entire distance, there and back again, via rail from a depot or siding.  In an industrial siding or manufacturing site a locomotive pulling a wagon into a dead-end line is then captive behind that wagon until it pushes out again.  A road rail vehicle can dismount the rail and return down an access road to return for more wagons.

Environmentally, the vehicles on which modern RRV’s are based have engines which are required to have far lower emissions than their traditional rail counterparts.  Euro 6 Diesel engines are extremely clean and fuel efficient.  Not only that but our hybrid and full electric models take that environmental concept even further.

Different drive technologies come via mechanical transmissions with smooth starting, torque-convertor clutches.  Working and crawler gears ranges providing massive pulling power of more than 1000 tonnes and upto 52 axles wagon braking delivers the safe stopping power.  All wheel drive delivered onto the track via rubber tyres provides high tractive force while hydrostatic drive systems can for allow minute control with just single pedal operation for both starting and stopping. 

From a productivity standpoint, simple one-man operation is possible on many of our RRV’s with radio-remote control and being based on volume production equipment ensures that spare parts and maintenance is a simple matter with vehicle down time kept to a minimum.  The service intervals on the latest Euro VI  UNIMOG’s is an impressive 1400 hours and our electric RRV’s require similarly low levels of maintenance.

Availability and initial cost are perhaps two of the biggest influencers when choosing a modern RRV over a traditional rail vehicle:  The production time for the base vehicle and the subsequent build is often dramatically less than the alternative and the cost a versatile, clean and highly productive RRV from SCT-RAIL could be a fraction of the cost of a replacement locomotive.