Truck triumphs in race against train 15 August 2011

A test to see whether a truck or train can deliver goods to their destination the fastest has ended in a win for road transport over the track.

A Euro 5 Mercedes-Benz Actros 1860 MegaSpace 4x2 tractor unit was put up against the latest GM Class 66 train, each departing simultaneously from DIRFT (Daventry International rail freight terminal) to Coatbridge container terminal, Glasgow.

The Actros, with its range-topping 16-litre 600bhp engine governed to a 56mph top speed, made steady progress, reaching Gretna Green services in four hours, 27 minutes – just three minutes shy of the statutory, four-and-a-half hours maximum driving period – and averaging 52.4mph and 8.5mpg.

The truck remain parked for 45 minutes, its single driver being more representative of typical truck operation than a double-manned cab.

Meanwhile, the train, complete with a 3,245bhp, 139-litre engine capable of 75mph, was returning less than one mile per gallon and was on the second of the three sets of crew it needed for the same trip. Having already had one change of personnel at Crewe, it was forced to stop at Tebay, before heading on to Carlisle for a third and final crew change.

Six hours and 55 minutes after it departed DRIFT, the Actros arrived at the container terminal gates, with the train 18 minutes behind.

John Challen

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