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Smart ForRail: Part city car, part train?

2015-07-01 08:56

TRAINING WHEELS: The Smart ForRail takes its inaugural journey in Sussex, England. Image: Newspress

LONDON, England - The Smart ForFour is a good enough commuter but does it have any new tricks up its sleeve?

Well, British train engineering firm Interfleet, which usually works on 16-litre, 70-tonne diesel locomotives, had to employ a new approach to the challenge presented by a one-litre, one-tonne Smart ForFour.


In a light-hearted, one-off experiment by Smart - the aim being to see if the two could be combined. Nicknamed the smart 'ForRail', it might appear like a lightly modified Smart ForFour but it is in fact, a fully certified, mini-train.

WATCH: Cute choo-choo new Smart ForRail

Six months of engineering work and sophisticated CAD modelling later, the Smart ForRail is equipped with unique 55cm diameter steel wheels to let it get the traction it needs on rails.


The steering was disconnected and, to avoid any steering movement, aluminium supports were welded between the axles to lock the wheels.

Under close supervision, the Smart ForRail took tentatively to the tracks at the weekend on the private Bluebell Railway – giving a few bemused commuters a chance to avoid the congested roads without having to leave the four-seater.

Despite challenging engineering obstacles, the experiment steadfastly refused to come off the rails. The best of both worlds were combined – albeit briefly – to create perhaps the most efficient, and fun, commuting machine in the world.

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