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Discovery Sport pulls 108 tonne train

 

Land Rover stopped people in their tracks today as the Discovery Sport SUV towed three train carriages weighing 108 tonnes along a railway track in a demonstration of towing capability.

The 10km journey through the Rhine region of northern Switzerland put the compact Discovery Sport’s pulling power to the ultimate test. Though the Discovery Sport has a certified maximum towing weight of 2,500kg (2.5 tonnes), it was able to pull 60 times its own weight, powered by Jaguar Land Rover’s 180PS Ingenium diesel engine providing 430Nm of torque.

In addition, the Discovery Sport benefitted from Land Rover’s portfolio of towing and traction technologies such as Terrain Response, Tow Assist, Tow Hitch Assist and All Terrain Progress Control – a semi-autonomous off-road driving system that automatically manages engine output and braking, to complete the stunt.

This impressive feat coincides with the Discovery Sport being announced winner of the 1,700-1,899kg class at the prestigious Tow Car Awards in the UK, with the Land Rover Discovery named ‘Tow Car of the Decade’.

The stunt was designed by Land Rover engineers to clearly show the strength and capability of the Discovery Sport, echoing a similar feat performed in 1989 for the launch of its ancestor, Discovery I.

“Towing is in Land Rover’s DNA, and Discovery Sport is no exception. Over the years, we have introduced game-changing towing technologies to take the stress out of towing for our customers. I’ve spent most of my career travelling to the most punishing parts of the world to test Land Rovers in grueling conditions, yet this is the most extreme towing test I’ve ever done,” says Karl Richards, Stability Control Systems, Jaguar Land Rover.

The vehicle’s drivetrain remained unchanged; the only modification being the fitment of rail wheels by specialists Aquarius Railroad Technologies, to act as ‘stabilisers’. Unlike the 1989 Discovery tow, Discovery Sport completed the impressive pull without the aid of low-range gears, instead using its state-of-the-art 9-speed automatic gearbox and Terrain Response technology to generate the necessary traction. Land Rover’s All Terrain Progress Control (ATPC) system was also engaged at the press of a button during the tow, to maximise traction at a set speed. Acting much like a ‘low-speed cruise control’, ATPC allows the driver to focus on the road – or in this case the railway – ahead.

The vehicle’s drivetrain remained unchanged; the only modification being the fitment of rail wheels by specialists Aquarius Railroad Technologies, to act as ‘stabilisers’. Unlike the 1989 Discovery tow, Discovery Sport completed the impressive pull without the aid of low-range gears, instead using its state-of-the-art 9-speed automatic gearbox and Terrain Response technology to generate the necessary traction. Land Rover’s All Terrain Progress Control (ATPC) system was also engaged at the press of a button during the tow, to maximise traction at a set speed. Acting much like a ‘low-speed cruise control’, ATPC allows the driver to focus on the road – or in this case the railway – ahead.

The train-pulling feat was undertaken on 10km of track at the Museumsbahn Stein am Rhein in Switzerland, crossing the River Rhine on the dramatic Hemishofen bridge – a historic steel span measuring 935 feet long and soaring 85 feet above the valley floor.

Land Rover has a history of rail conversions, from the days of the Series II and IIA Land Rover to the various Defender models that have been modified to run on rails for maintenance, and the notable launch of Discovery I in 1989. The latter saw a converted Discovery towing a series of carriages in Plymouth to demonstrate the capability of the new 200Tdi diesel engine.

British road-to-rail 4x4 conversion specialists Aquarius Railroad Technologies fitted the rail wheels to the otherwise standard Discovery Sport.

“For a vehicle of this size to pull a combined weight of 108 tonnes demonstrates real engineering integrity. No modifications were necessary to the drivetrain whatsoever and in tests the Discovery Sport generated more pull than our road-rail Defender, which is remarkable,” says James Platt managing director, Aquarius Railroad Technologies.


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