Rail car mover
A rail car mover is a road-rail vehicle (capable of travelling on both roads and rail tracks) fitted with couplers for moving small numbers of railroad cars around in a rail siding or small yard. They are extensively used by railroad customers because they are cheaper than owning a switcher locomotive, more convenient and cheaper than paying the railroad operator to do the switching, easier and more productive than manual moving of cars, and in addition they are more versatile since they can travel on road wheels to the cars they need to move, instead of needing clear track.
Some have two drive systems and drive only on steel wheels on the rail, with their rubber tires lifted out of the way, while others have only one drive system and use steel rail wheels only to guide them and use their rubber tires on the rail, in a similar fashion to HiRail trucks.
Rail car movers are fairly lightweight, so in order to gain more traction some models transfer weight from the car they are hauling onto their own wheels. Other models that employ the rubber tire drive while on the rail do not require this "weight-transfer" from the railcar. In Europe, trucks (lorries) fitted with railway wheels and couplings are used as rail car movers (often called towing or shunting vehicles).
Numerous manufacturers produce rail car movers.
Well-known rail car mover brands in North America include Shuttlewagon, Rail King and Trackmobile.
In Ireland, Unilokomotive has been manufacturing the range of Unilok Road/Rail Wagon Movers since 1954. Diesel and Electric (battery powered)are available. The Unilok carries out shunting tasks that locomotives 4 to 5 times their weight would do, but with greater mobility and at a fraction of the cost.
In Italy Zephir produces rail-road shunters since 1977, both diesel and electric (battery powered).
In Belgium, the company UCA produces the UCA-TRAC, rail/road vehicles based on the chassis of a JCB Load-All (UCA-TRAC B) and JCB Fastrac (UCA-TRAC F). The UCA-TRAC provides traction through its rubber wheels.
AAR Type "E" coupler as may be serving on any rail car mover in North America. Pulling up on the link at the rear releases the knuckle allowing uncoupling.
Shunting vehicle (Unimog)