Powertrain products business LH Group Services has secured an order from Network Rail for eight Mercedes-Benz Unimogs to use on rail, as well as on road and rough terrain.
The 4×4 vehicles, with Euro-6 engines, are based on 13.3-tonne gvw U423 chassis supplied by dealer Lloyd Ltd, and are being converted at LH’s Staffordshire production site. A total of seven of the trucks, specified for overhead line work, are being fitted with 6m access platforms with safe working load capacities of 400kg.
The eighth will be equipped with a bespoke 2,500kg scissor-lift. The first five will be based in Scotland, with the other three due for Network Rail’s operation in the East Midlands. Network Rail’s fleet includes 26 Unimog road-railers, all built by LH Group Services.
The U423 has a 5.1-litre engine producing 228bhp and driving through a fully synchronised manual transmission with eight forward and six reverse gears. LH fits each vehicle with extra bogies front and rear, to provide guidance for ‘on rail’ operation and these are deployed or raised hydraulically, from the cab.
While other road-rail vehicles typically require a level crossing or RRAP (road rail access point) to join the track, the Unimog can cross difficult terrain if no points are available nearby. The firm also specifies the shorter of the two available wheelbase lengths for easier manoeuvring.
Front- and rear-facing cameras are supplied by Mercedes-Benz while LH adds four extra recordable cameras to each Unimog for better safety and compliance.