Vintage PR Shot: Willys Jeep Pickup With Hy-Rail Equipment – Back When They Had To Widen The Track To Fit The Tracks

One of my unfulfilled desires is to have a truck with these drop-down rail guide wheels, so that I could scoot down some abandoned or rarely-used railroad tracks.  This Willys would be just fine for that. I

It’s a bit curious to see that they had to put wheels on it with greater offset than stock in order to widen its track to fit the tracks. Nowadays, it’s the opposite; they have to put on wheels with negative offset, in order to make the track narrow enough, which makes them look rather odd when seen directly from behind or from the front.

Like this Ford Super Duty, also equipped with Hi-Rail equipment (they apparently changed the spelling of the first word sometime along the way).

One time somewhere out in the boonies, I encountered an old rail line with our Jeep Cherokee, and I positioned it on the rails to see if it would fit on them: perfect! The rails were almost in the middle of the tire treads. So I drove down the tracks a bit, without the benefit of any guide rails. That’s a bit of a challenge! I don’t remember how far I got, but I do remember making Stephanie nervous. So I got off the track, but I would have loved to just roll on down them, hands off the steering wheel.

I wondered if anyone used the Cherokee on tracks; the only picture I could find is this one at the EMD plant, although it’s not quite on the tracks.

Here’s a Jeep Wagoneer that was used by the Denver, Rio Grande and Western RR back in the day. Very much stock wheels and tires.

And the Oregon Pacific RR is still using a Jeep Hy-Rail, this 2009 Wrangler.