Mecalac machines have beautifully edgy designs. Their excavators and loaders look like they could easily fit in the background of some high-budget sci-fi film. The French-based manufacturer just introduced an equally awesome-looking new compact excavator — the 216MRail — dedicated to railway construction and maintenance. This unit is a beast for its size. The machine can lift 8.5 tons (8 metric tonnes) on rails. Its boom is optimized specifically for lifting applications, combining a lowered center of gravity and a centered upper carriage.

The equipment features a low operating weight as well (44,092 lbs) while featuring the same power as machines that weigh up to 50,700 lbs, says Mecalac. For travel, the 216MRail utilizes a hydrostatic transmission, pneumatic braking and either four rubber tires or four cool “steering wheels” to smoothly travel up to 19 mph on road or rail. It can even tow a trailer.

From the press release:

“Railroad maintenance is a growing industry worldwide, and the 216MRail is an ideal method for efficient and safe railway work,” said Peter Bigwood, general manager for Mecalac North America. “Mecalac has collaborated with railroad equipment manufacturers in the past, but this new, specifically engineered machine demonstrates our dedication to the industry. Customers will now have a simple, effective solution for their maintenance needs.”

The 216MRail is a purpose-built machine suited to work under overhead lines up to 14 ft with the arm lowered. The equipment’s unique design ensures 360-degree visibility, enhancing the safety of operators and other onsite personnel. The spacious double cab even allows for two operators.

Streamlined Design

Mecalac boasts a low cost of ownership for the 216MRail. First off, it features a hydrostatic transmission that reduces tire wear, as well as an Eco Mode that helps reduce fuel consumption. It’s easy to fill up too. Mecalac designed the machine to allow convenient daily maintenance and diesel fueling at ground level.

The 216MRail also features a simple interface for operators and mechanics. The screens are easy to read and configure, showing useful data in real time. Driver assistance functions like cylinder coupling and rail mode are available with a simple switch.

The machine is available in all countries where rail spacing follows the standard dimensions of 4 ft, 8 in. and complies with the future European standard EN15746. The 216MRail is produced by Mecalac in Annecy, France, and is covered by the company’s two-year warranty.

Keith Gribbins is publisher of Compact Equipment.

2 Readers Commented

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  1. Nathan Medcalf on October 13, 2020

    I am most curious about the mechanics when transitioning between rail mode and road mode. Do the extensions to the rail wheels rotate up/down at the axle to the road tires? What is the maximum rotation up/down?

    • Keith Gribbins Author on October 19, 2020

      A product specialist at Mecalac provided the following:

      The rail lorries are completely independent from the road transmission; they are mounted on a separated and dedicated frame, and there is no friction with the tires to move forward/backwards on rails. Both transmissions (road and rail) are hydrostatic. The rail lorries are lowered thanks to 2 cylinders at the front + 2 at the rear. When lowering them, the machine automatically switches to the rail mode. When on road position, with the lorries fully up, the bottom of the rail wheel is at a height of 50cm / 19.7 in (outside of the steel wheel with a diameter of 630mm / 24.8 inches).


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