When you first look at it, you might think “Is this a joke?” but it’s real, Mercedes’ Smart has transformed into the world’s smallest train.
During a course of six months, the train was developed with a lot of engineering work and CAD modelling which was necessary. The custom forfour has lost its standard alloys and now comes with massive 22 inch solid steel wheels, each weighing 80 kgs. The converted Forfour, nicknamed the “Forrail,” took to the track of the private Bluebell Railway in Sussex, England and the little engine that could, travelled 10 miles along the track without derailing.
Creating the Forrail was no easy task. It was designed by a team at UK based Interfleet who usually works on 70 ton, 16- liter diesel locomotives, but this time they had to modify a tiny Smart forfour weighing just one ton and equipped with a small 1.0 liter engine. The engineers removed the car’s steering system and to make sure the wheels remained locked in position they welded aluminum supports between the axles. After running the fully certified mini-train on the tracks, the team converted the car back to its original, road going state, so don’t think you’ll see a tiny car speeding into the train station any time soon.
Smart says the experiment was designed to explore whether the convenience of rail travel, no congestion, a clear path to your destination could be combined with the upsides of the car. It was more of a PR stunt than a serious idea.