The Fuso Canter 4x4 is entering a completely new area of operations in Great Britain – the British rail network. London-based Network Rail, which has been responsible for the maintenance of the railway infrastructure in Great Britain since October 2002, is for the first time using 20 specially equipped Fuso Canter 4x4 trucks for track maintenance and repairs.
For this purpose the 6.5-ton vehicles have been additionally equipped with hydraulically lowerable railway wheels ahead of the front axle and behind the rear axle. This means that the Canter 4x4s with crew cabs are capable of carrying a full maintenance crew plus a load and equipment both on the road and on the rails, according to the company.
The conversion work was carried out by the specialist bodybuilder Gos Tool & Engineering in Blaenavon (South Wales). In addition to the railway wheels, six vehicles were equipped with a crane body to render them capable of lowering and lifting the heavy sleepers and rails during track maintenance work. The other 14 vehicles were equipped with a box body to carry all the tools required for welding work. The conversion work to the single-tired rear axle was to a design by the British bodybuilder following a special customer request, according to the company.
The speedy arrival of the Canter 4x4s with special track maintenance bodies at the scene of operations is ensured by a four-cylinder diesel engine with a displacement of 2998 cc3 and an output of 129 kW (175 hp) at 3500 rpm. The engine torque, which is distributed to both the front and rear axles in the 4x4, and therefore ensures excellent traction, is 430 newton meters which are already available from 1600 rpm, according to the company.
The vehicle's speed is of lesser importance when it comes to repairs. Instead being "fast on the scene" refers to the great flexibility of the Canter 4x4. It means that roadgoing vehicles which were previously used to carry repair materials to loading points are now completely redundant. As the special Canter trucks can travel by both road and rail, they are able to cover all logistical requirements, according to the company.
With the new Canter 4x4 vehicles, Network Rail is not only relieving the daily workload of its repair teams, but also benefitting from improved efficiency and lower operating costs, according to the company.