Americans love to tow things. Boats, campers, work equipment, whatever: if we can move it, we will move it.
That’s why towing capacity is one of the big selling points among the full-size pickups from Chevrolet, Ford, GMC and Ram.
Currently the champ is the 2012 Ford F-450 King Ranch Styleside Crew Cab 4X4 with a 172-inch wheelbase and dual rear wheels. It’s rated at 24,500 pounds towing capacity.
But is it really the champ? How about a truck with a towing capacity of 2,204,600 pounds – nearly 90 times the capacity of the F-450?
Talk about a stump-puller.
The truck is the Mercedes-Benz Unimog U400 that Daimler AG will be showing at the 9th InnoTrans show in Berlin, Germany,September 18-21.
InnoTrans is the leading international trade show for the railway industry. The reason the Unimog will be on display is that Daimler is showcasing it for rail cleaning and switching duties. That’s right: Daimler is selling the Unimog as a locomotive.
This is nothing new: Daimler sells 80 to 100 Unimogs to railroads each year. In America, the Union Pacific used one as a switcher in its Denver yard and the Bay Colony Railroad in Massachusetts listed one on its locomotive roster from 1984 to 1991. A number of light rail systems have also purchased Unimogs. It can drive to the scene of a derailment, re-rail the cars, and go on about its way to the next job.
What is new is a redesigned powertrain that in addition to a torque converter clutch for pulling heavy loads also includes a crawler gear transmission for very slow operating speeds.
Unlike other show cars, the Unimog will be going to work after the show ends. It is already equipped with railroad couplers, buffers, and car-braking gear from Zagro and a HIAB XS 122 loading crane with man basket and will be delivered to Deutsche Bahn, the German railway for transfer to the DB’s Northeast Bavaria Region in Hof, Germany.