Mercedes-Benz Actros vs GM Class 66 Train (Photo: Mercedes-Benz UK)


It was the battleground of giants for a UK magazine test between truck and train. Which monster of freight would be able to travel from a rail terminal to a ship terminal in a least amount of time. In one corner was a 2009 Mercedes-Benz Actros MegaSpace truck with 598 bhp on tap. On the rails and ready to rumble was a 2008 GM Class 66 train with a startling 3,245 bhp of motive force, which in less technical terms can be described as a lot of choo-choo!

Under the watchful eyes of staff from Commercial Motor, the UK’s largest weekly road transport magazine, and Railways Illustrated, both truck and train departed simultaneously from Daventry International Rail Freight Terminal, the train limited to 75MPH and the truck limited to 56MPH. While en route to the Coatbridge Container Terminal, Glasgow the Mercedes recorded a 8.5 MPG average while the train traveled less than one mile per gallon.

Although the Actros used in the test is a 2009 model, we found some footage of the newer model and have shared it with you below.


At four and half hours in, the truck’s driver had to take a mandatory break of 45 minutes, but the train required three sets of crew for the same trip. At 270 miles into the journey, the rail line and motorway met, but rather surprisingly at this point both vehicles were still neck and neck.

Finally after almost seven hours of travel, the Mercedes managed to best the train by 18 minutes. Traffic had been kind to the truck, speeds were good on the motorway and there had been no accidents. One has to ask, how often does that happen?

For a comparison between truck and train from a green perspective, check out this Tree Hugger article. We found some great, unrelated footage of the GM Class 66 train and have embedded it below for your viewing pleasure.