A get-together in Harz for four generations.

Four Unimog trucks from four decades clear the road up to the summit of the Brocken in the Harz region.

The Brocken in the Harz national park has an almost mystic aura about it. And now, this historically important location is also the starting point for a new Unimog U 429 which is literally driving in the tracks of its predecessors – a great idea from the commercial vehicles specialists at Henne and Hasselfelde. In what can only be described as a winter wonderland, four Unimog generations set about clearing the route up to the mountain's summit.

On this misty, snowy February day, an icy wind is blowing over the so-called Brockenstraße (Brocken Road) in the Harz region of northern Germany. Visibility is barely more than 30 metres when suddenly some rays of sun pierce through the sky to turn the summit of the Brocken into a glistening winter landscape. In this magical moment, four Unimog trucks equipped for winter service work make their way up the mountain pass: a Unimog U 84 (from 1979), a Unimog U 2400 (1995), a Unimog U 400 (2004) and a brand-new Unimog U 429 (2018).

It's a breath-taking sight, and knowing that there are almost 40 years which separate the oldest Unimog from the youngest model, that's just incredible!

 

Rüdiger Lorenz, Henne Nutzfahrzeuge GmbH

Winter service work on the Brockenstraße.

At an altitude of 1141 metres, the Brocken in the Harz national park is the highest mountain in all of northern Germany. The only way up to the peak's plateau is the 9.6-kilometre-long Brockenstraße which climbs approximately 525 metres altitude. In the winter months, the entire road has to be cleared to allow for rescue services, the fire service, the staff of the weather station, the operators of the Harzer Schmalspurbahn narrow-gauge railway as well as the employees and supply vehicles of the Brockenwirt hotel and restaurant to access their respective workplaces.

One Unimog service partner is up for the challenge.

As environmental considerations prevent the use of de-icing agents in the national park, the snow may only be removed using a plough or snow cutter. Since 2017, the winter service operations are in the hands of Unimog service partner Nutzfahrzeuge Hasselfelde. From October to April, Managing Director Christian Degenhardt sends out his team together with their heavy machinery on an almost daily basis to clear the Brockenstraße.

Unimog U 429 with the latest equipment.

In order to allow the ambitious project to bring together four Unimog generations on the Brocken, the existing fleet at Hasselfelde was expanded by a brand-new Unimog U 429 from the Henne Unimog general dealership. This vehicle is completely equipped for municipal operations and features winter service equipment from manufacturer Schmidt.

The Unimog implement carrier sports a hydrostatic drive system which allows for stepless changes between working speed in the crawler gear and normal road speeds. The hydraulics of the new Unimog ensure snow plough relief which not only increases the volume of snow which can be cleared, but also lengthens the service life of the attachment itself. Electronic Quick Reverse enables rapid changes between forwards and reverse gears and is ideal for use in deep snow drifts.

The Unimog U 427 ensures streets are free of ice and snow in the southern parts of the Black Forest.

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The Unimog from 1979 still doesn't shy away from hard work.

Normally, winter service operations on the road leading to the Brocken plateau are predominantly carried out using a 2004-built Unimog U 400 equipped with a blower-cutter and dry spreader. Thanks to it being equipped with a front power take-off shaft, hydrostatic drive system, working gears, and VarioPilot® dual-mode steering, working with the Unimog is especially comfortable. Supporting this vehicle is a Unimog U 2400 of more than 20 years its senior. This most powerful member of the 437 model series is also equipped with a blower-cutter as well as a rare, demountable Palfinger crane. Despite the crane, this Unimog is equipped for completing the full scope of municipal operations.

If the Unimog freshmen aren't able to complete the task on their own, then a veteran U 84 model from 1979 turns out to provide assistance. While the Unimog 406 model series' 62 kW (84 hp) of power move it gently up the Brocken, the OM 355 drive motor used for the Schmidt front-mounted snow cutter delivers an impressive 191 kW (260 hp). One special detail of this vehicle is that the Unimog was initially purchased to handle winter service operations in Quickborn near Hamburg after the snow catastrophe in 1978/1979. But there was to be no further snow chaos in the subsequent winters in northern regions of Germany. And so the Unimog U 84 was decommissioned after more than 35 years of diligent service and a mileage of just 5900 km not to mention a mere 141 operating hours. But now it's getting the chance to drive up the Brocken and tackle the snow head-on in this new lease of life.

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