During repair work to the Cassanawald Tunnel on the San Bernardino Pass in Italy, a Mercedes-Benz Unimog is being used to shunt an unusual configuration of construction equipment on railway freight wagons.
Road-rail Unimog U 406, built in 1971, acts as a railway ‘engine’ when pulling the heavy construction train through the 1.2kmlong Alpine tunnel.
The reliability and efficiency of the Mercedes-Benz Unimog has really impressed its operators who, up to now, have been using normal railway engines to do similar jobs.
While being used for driving, shunting or as a train in the Cassanawald Tunnel, the Unimog has to be ‘wrapped up’. Although it is an incredibly resilient vehicle it has to be protected from the very diluted concrete which is sprayed on the walls of the tunnel.
The Unimog, which used to belong to the Swiss Army, shunts the work train to where it is needed, which means it has to cope with a track profile with gradients of up to three per cent within the tunnel itself.