Shunts to the front.

Road/rail Unimog as a flexible shunting vehicle at the Mercedes-Benz plant in Bremen.

Mercedes-Benz leaves nothing to chance when delivering its coveted passenger cars and uses reliable top powerhouses sporting the Mercedes star:  five Unimog specially designed for use on rail and road perform shunting operations at the Bremen car plant – and offer a flexible and economic alternative to shunting locomotives.

Unimog brings new cars to the rails.

Endless rows of wagons travel across the Bremen factory site at walking pace. On board: brand new C-Class models, neatly lined up and protected against transport damage. The initial destination is a transfer point at the plant exit where a long-distance transport locomotive takes over the wagons and transports them to Bremerhaven. There, a sea voyage to numerous regions around the world starts for the cars.

The Mercedes-Benz plant in Bremen is one of the biggest car production plants in Germany. Rail is an important means of transport here that is used in particular for overseas exports. The scrap metal produced at the factory when body parts are pressed is also taken away by railway wagons.

For the shunting with the heavy wagons needed on the factory premises, the Mercedes-Benz plant in Bremen uses five road/rail Unimog vehicles. Thanks to hydraulically lowerable rail gear they can be used on both rails and roads.

And this pays off in several respects, says Ralf Menger, team foreman for Plant Transport/Shunting Service, as the all-rounders are agile and save time as they move between different locations in the plant. They can also drive around the tight radii of bends on the site with ease. This saves expensive investments in new rail systems which would be necessary with the operation of conventional shunting locomotives.

For on-site shunting it is an invaluable advantage that the road/rail Unimog can switch flexibly between rail and road.

Ralf Menger, Team Plant Transport/Shunting Service

Two of the Unimog used at the Bremen car plant belong to the latest generation of the well-proven commercial vehicle, model U 423. Good for the budget: they use much less fuel in operation than comparable shunting locomotives. And thanks to the latest Euro VI drive technology they make an important contribution to reducing emissions on the factory site – good for the environment.


High pulling power even in wet weather.

The Unimog U 423 with their 170 kW (231 hp) 4-cylinder engines have to pull towed weights of up to 600 t in daily shunting operations. The Unimog's torque converter clutch, which is available ex works, ensures wear-free moving off and increased starting torque.

And this also works reliably in bad weather and on wet rails. Because thanks to all-wheel drive and differential locks as well as the higher permissible gross vehicle weight of the new Unimog generation, traction is maintained even on slippery tracks – an important safety factor, especially when braking.

Perfectly equipped for shunting.

The equipment of the two Unimog U 423 includes sophisticated railway technology from the specialised body manufacturers Zagro and Zwiehoff. For example, the two powerful shunting experts have a wagon braking system for 800 t and coupling bars at the front and rear. Practical radio remote control enables precise shunting manoeuvres, while the driver can keep an eye on the wagons outside the vehicle.

For in-plant use, the Unimog is approved according to BOA (construction and operating regulations for connecting railways). As a flexible alternative to shunting locomotives, the road/rail Unimog vehicles are a familiar sight at the Mercedes-Benz plant in Bremen. Advantages include the quick switch from rail to road, the economical operation and the simple integration into the existing infrastructure. Ralf Menger sums up by saying that a comparatively inflexible locomotive would simply no longer be able cope with the workload on the existing railway infrastructure. The Daimler-produced commercial vehicle assistance is therefore a real boon and ensures that many more new cars will leave Bremen destined for Mercedes-Benz customers all over the world.

The Mercedes-Benz plant in Bremen.

More than 12,500 Mercedes-Benz employees currently produce ten passenger car models at the Bremen site, including the C-Class, GLC, SLC and the SL. In 2017 more than 420,000 vehicles rolled off the production lines. This means that the site is one of the largest Mercedes-Benz passenger car plants.

The Bremen site is also well equipped for the future: from 2019 the first electric vehicle of the new EQ product brand will be built there. By the end of the decade all newly developed intelligent drives will be built in Bremen – from the conventional combustion engine to plug-in hybrids and fuel cell vehicles.

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