customized hi-rail track inspection vehicle

As a provider of specialized trucks, Custom Truck One Source (CTOS) consistently strives to innovate and employ adaptive reasoning when approaching our customer’s needs. Such innovation and adaptability were required when tackling a unique request by one of our many valued customers.

The Problem

The client needed a customized hi-rail vehicle which could house a full crew, transport and power an extensive computer system, and was also road-to-rail ready. This computer system essentially controls an array of automated components. These components are utilized during rail-travel to log important data regarding the track’s infrastructure. There were three complications with the customer’s specifications:

  1. Regulating the internal temperature for such a delicate computer system
  2. Powering said computer system
  3. Weight distribution

How We Solved It

Utilizing a combination of Deep Cycle thermostatic batteries, a thermostatic blanket, and additional thermostatic controls, we solved our first two problems rather quickly. We could now power the client’s computer system and prevent the critical damage associated with overheating or freezing the system. The latter of the three problems proved to be more challenging to solve.

The third problem was two-fold. The truck needed to generate enough downforce on the rail gear and tractive effort of the tires while maintaining a legal load for road travel. The customer’s truck required a significant amount of weight on the rear gear. This weight would generate the downforce required to ensure the weight deflection. While adding such a weight to the rear gear would solve the first half of the problem, it would create the second. Placing the required weight on the required location would invalidate the truck’s ability to road-travel legally, rendering the vehicle useless. What were we to do?

Well, we scratched our heads for a bit, began mocking up some designs on a whiteboard, had a few meetings with our engineering staff, and walked back down to the shop with what proved to be our customized solution… one slick idea.

Within the truck’s van body, we installed a hydraulically powered sliding tray upon which rested an ample stack of 1″ plate steel. The system sounds relatively simple, and that’s how we like it. During road travel, the tray moves and locks in place at the nose of the van. This distributes the weight in a manner which allows for legal road travel. Once on the rail, the weight shifts to the rear. This effectively generates the required downforce as well as the tractive effort needed to allow track-travel. Much like the way we approach our customer’s needs, our solution was and is adaptive.


hi-rail tray


As always, we take pride in cultivating unique, customized solutions to the problems of our customers. Next time, let us solve yours!