The Land Rover Discovery Sport SUV achieved an incredible feat in Switzerland on the 16th of June 2016, towing three luxury train carriages with a combined weight of more than 100 tonnes along a railway track. This remarkable demonstration of towing capability saw the vehicle pulling what is effectively the same weight as a Boeing-757 airplane.
What makes the feat even more remarkable is that the Discovery Sport’s drivetrain remained unchanged with the only modification being the fitment of rail wheels by British road-to-rail 4x4 conversion specialists Aquarius Railroad Technologies to act as ‘stabilisers’. The train pull itself was a nod to Land Rover’s heritage referencing the notable launch of Discovery I in 1989, and included a crossing of the River Rhine on the dramatic Hemishofen bridge, a historic steel span measuring 935 feet long and soaring 85 feet above the valley floor.
Powered by Jaguar Land Rover’s 180PS Ingenium diesel engine providing 430Nm of torque, the vehicle undertook a 10km journey whilst effectively pulling 58 times its own weight. The power on offer from the engine was complemented by Land Rover’s towing and traction technologies including 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.
Using these technologies the Discovery Sport completed the pull without the aid of low-range gears, relying solely on 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 engaged at the press of a button helping to maximise traction at a set speed, acting much like a ‘low-speed cruise control’.
Karl Richards, Lead Engineer for Stability Control Systems at Jaguar Land Rover, said: “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 gruelling conditions, yet this is the most extreme towing test I’ve ever done.”
Find out more about the Discovery Sport
All driving sequences in the film are performed by a professional driver on a privately owned railway track closed to the general public at the time of filming and carried out under strict supervision of a safety expert. Vehicle shown has been converted for rail use by specialist technicians. Do not attempt.