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Eight hours a day on rail or road: the new Unimog U400 for the Migros Geneva Cooperative
- Shunting duties on the railway, recovery and clearing duties
on the road
- Extremely high gross combination weights
Schlieren – The Migros Geneva Cooperative has its own distribution centre in La Praille with four sidings. From here, it supplies 34 sales outlets in Switzerland and a further three outlets near the border in France. Before a van or truck can head off to a sales outlet, however, a Unimog is needed. The new Unimog U400, like its Unimog 1400 predecessor, takes care of all the shunting duties between the SBB (Swiss Federal Railways) and the cooperative's own railway lines. For eight hours a day, two employees use the Unimog to move the goods wagons at the site, where the compositions are split, sorted, rearranged and distributed before the empty wagons are taken back to the SBB network. The reliable Unimog also performs sterling service when used for heavy-duty towing and for snow-clearing operations at the cooperative's own site.
The Unimog is the only vehicle that can be driven quickly on the road at 80 km/h and used as a shunting vehicle on the railways at 50 km/h (only max. 5 km/h at Migros Geneva). On the rails, the Unimog yields a high gross combination weight thanks to the high friction coefficient (up to 0.9) of rubber wheels on steel. "Our Unimog is equipped with a wagon brake system for a maximum of 400 tonnes, although we currently only use 250 tonnes; however, even a maximum of 800 tonnes would be possible," says workshop manager Roger Wipfli. For rail use, the Unimog's permanent all-wheel-drive system also includes a centre, rear axle and front axle differential lock. Special features of the Migros U400 include the front-mounted coupling bar, which gives the driver a better view of the coupling level. The coupling can be operated from the cab. The U400 can be uprated to a gross weight of up to 12,000 kg, although at Migros the operating weight is just 10,000 kg because a snowplough is mounted when performing snow-clearing duties.
The Mercedes-Benz Unimog has always performed sterling service at the Migros Geneva cooperative. Roger Wipfli: "The first Unimog was a 1970 model. The next one followed in 1988. Since then, we have always had two Unimog vehicles in our fleet. If the new one breaks down, the old one has to step in. But luckily that hardly ever happens." Roger Wipfli is manager of the in-house workshop, which has eight specialist staff. Together they maintain the large fleet, which in all comprises over 200 vehicles, including Mercedes-Benz vans and the majority of the trucks. For work done under warranty or in more complicated cases, the company is happy to call upon the professional services offered by LARAG SA.