Whilst we’ve seen Unimogs that can run on rails before, Tachoblog can’t remember ever seeing a different marque that can, so when we heard that drainage contractor Super-Rod made had a Mitsubishi Fuso Canter capable of running on railway lines, we had to find out more.
The specially adapted new 4×4 is now working for the Stoke-on-Trent firm’s On Line-On Track Drainage division, on a drain cleaning contract with track provider Network Rail.
The 7.5-tonne 7C18 was supplied by local Mercedes-Benz dealer Enza – the German manufacturer’s dealer network is also responsible for selling and supporting the popular Canter light truck range in the UK.
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Its railway drive system was designed and installed by LH Access Technology, of Burton upon Trent. Driven by a gearbox-mounted PTO, this incorporates a turntable which allows the Canter to drive onto the railway line at any angle. The rail wheels can then be hydraulically lowered and aligned with the track, and the truck lifted and turned to face the required direction.
“That one feature alone makes working with the new vehicle so much easier,” Super-Rod Director Chris Brayne told Tachoblog. “Of course, roads tend to bisect rail lines at 90 degrees rather than running parallel to them, so not having to line the truck up with the tracks before engaging the wheels is a real benefit.”
Meanwhile, the Canter’s all-wheel drive system and raised ride height mean accessing off-road railway embankments is no problem either.
Mounted on the Canter’s light yet strong, truck-style ladder chassis is a 5,000-litre tank with a vacuum pump and jetting equipment powered by a second, engine-driven PTO, all of which were fitted by GK&N Services, of Huddersfield.
Super-Rod uses this equipment to clean drains and empty the sump pits into which they flow on a weekly basis – the company’s technicians operate nationwide and work through the night, when trains are not running.
“We have an older Canter, which was also supplied by Enza, and that has been extremely reliable,” said Mr Brayne. “The chassis is also light, so even with all of the heavy equipment it stills offers sufficient payload for us to be able to fill the on board water tank.”