Smart Forrail: part-car, part-train

Smart Forrail

Usually if your car strays onto railway tracks, the natural reaction is to panic.

Not for Mercedes' engineers, though, who spent six months converting a new Smart Forfour city car into the Smart Forrail - a light-hearted experiment to see if cars can really run on railway tracks, as Roger Moore led us to believe in the Bond epic Octopussy.

Unfortunately the answer is no. You cannot simply remove your tyres and drive on rims along the rails. You can however harness the impressive knowledge of Interfleet, a specialist British train engineering business based in Derby, which will do it for you.

Smart Forrail

Smart Forrail

The team, who are more accustomed to dealing with 16-litre, 70-tonne diesel locomotives, took the 1.0-litre, one-ton Smart and made a number of modifications which would allow it to run on the privately operated Bluebell railway in Sussex.

They disconnected the agile steering, and welded aluminium supports between the axles in order to prevent the solid-steel wheels from moving whilst on the rails.

Some lucky visitors at the Bluebell railway attraction then got the opportunity to ride on the fully functioning mini-train, which took the trip well within its stride, providing the comfortable and alternative mode of transport. Check it out in action below.

Author: Laura Thomson