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This Mercedes Unimog can pull a 1,000-tonne train

Not content with being the world's toughest 4x4, the Unimog now comes in train format

There are few vehicles that are quite as versatile as the Unimog. And as of today there are likely to be even fewer, because Mercedes has announced a new version.

The U 423 is Merc’s multi-purpose solution for the rail industry, and a long wheelbase version will make an appearance at the InnoTrans exhibition in Berlin next month, showcasing some impressive headline figures. Absurdly, following the one-off Smart Forrail, it’s Merc’s second train in little over a year…

Reportedly housing a 228bhp, 5.1-litre turbodiesel engine, the Unimog can use its 664lb ft of torque ito tow along 1,000 tonnes of cargo. That’s one million kilos. The equivalent of hitching up 1,852 Caterham 310Rs in one long line. Crazy.

Less impressive (and let’s face it, less relevant) is the 31mph top speed, which can be achieved both on road and track as the power is always delivered to the Unimog’s rubber wheels; the “guidance bogie rail gear” simply keeps it going in the right direction.

Other than immense ability, Mercedes hopes that the Unimog’s additional usability will help convince customers to part with their cash. Switching between road and rail gear is said to be “rapid”, and a new fire alarm and extinguisher system will allow the machine to be used safely in tunnels in a way that previous rail-ready versions presumably weren’t.

They also promise “low fuel consumption”, although no exact figure is given. With a 5.1-litre engine, don’t expect it to rival a Prius…

With another version conforming to Euro V regulations, the Unimog can now be exported to places like Russia and China for the first time, too. Who else wants to see it square up to an Avtoros Shaman?

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