Smart ForRail: the ultimate commuting machine?
A bit late for April Fools' Day, Smart's ForFour takes to the rails
City cars aren't known for being the greatest cross-country commuters. Their little engines can't always cope with the faster traffic and more often than not you can see them mixing it with HGV's in lane 1, driver looking miserable. Smart thinks it has the answer with the 'ForRail'.
By replacing a standard ForFour's tyres with 22-inch solid steel wheels weighing 180 pounds each, Smart has created what it’s saying is the world's smallest locomotive (at least until it does the same to the ForTwo).
It wasn't just as simple as replacing the wheels, though, and it took Smart's team six months of design and engineering work to get it all working as it should. Teaming up with British train-builder Interfleet they not only replaced the wheels but disconnected the steering and added supports between the axles to lock everything together.
Admittedly, the Smart's 1-litre engine doesn't quite give it the performance of a true locomotive, and it's also down on capacity with only four seats and no standing room. But, with a standard single train ticket from London to Edinburgh costing over £100, will the prospect of 60mpg+ and a window seat for every passenger woo those stressed commuters? Only time will tell.
The ForRail was demonstrated to a small but bemused crowd on a privately operated stretch of railway through Sussex. Sadly though, the car was later converted back to road-going spec, as if Smart had no faith in their rail-going innovation. It seems Smart won't be offering this as a dealer-fit conversion, which is a real pity for any ForFour owners with secret train-driving aspirations.
Would you like to see commuter car/trains out there! Let us know what you think of Smart's ForRail in the comments below...