Short distance with obstacles

In September, four MAN TGX 41.640 trucks of the Baumann shipping company meet at the port of Emden for a massive heavy haul to the Emden Ost substation. Although the route is only a few kilometers long, it is a tough one with two bridges and two sharp junctions. Jens Hadel accompanied this spectacular heavy transport for us.

A week earlier, there was the identical load with three MAN TGX 41.640s and a Mercedes Actros SLT 4160. An extraordinary transport, and a bit of a nuisance for all those who missed it to take great photos. Between the two transports, the second large transformer is loaded from the ship into a green vessel trailer at a quay wall near Jarssumer Straße in Emden. Green? Exactly, since the Baumann fleet does not have a suitable scissor lift vessel trailer for the transformer’s transport weight of 416 metric tons, a 500-ton unit from Greiner is borrowed from the French colleagues of Scales. Together with the red axle lines from Baumann, this sight is likely to remain something truly rare.

The maneuver involves finding the exact position.

The convoy can set off

On the first Saturday in September 2022, the time has come: the long convoy, consisting of an MAN TGX 41.640, the Scales scissor lift vessel trailer mounted on two 18-axle bogies and another MAN TGX 41.640 as a pushing vehicle, is ready. Right on time at 10.00 p.m., several Sprinters with the inscription “Auxiliary Police” set off and close the first section of the route to other road users. In Emden, the use of private escorts for special transports has proven effective, because on weekdays, large parts for wind turbines leave for construction sites all over Europe almost every day. On the first section of the route, there is plenty of space on and off the two-lane road. At walking speed, Toni Maurer’s two heavy-duty MANs with three driven axles move toward the first bridge together with the transformer. The advance team has already switched on the large light screens, as important preparations for the onward journey have to be made here.

Distributing the load better

In order to distribute the load over additional axles, a five-axle self-propelled unit, which is lined with anti-slip mats, is maneuvered under the transformer. In this case, it is necessary to find the exact position to ensure even weight distribution. Before the journey continues, the Baumann team attaches two heavy-duty round slings on each side to secure the self-propelled unit to the frame of the scissor-lift vessel trailer. In an emergency, this connection should ensure that the transformer does not suddenly hang freely in the air. At first glance, this may sound illogical, since the five-axle truck could be guaranteed to follow the transport safely when traveling slowly. This is probably where the structural engineers from Emden have raised concerns. How would the bridge or its land points behave if there were a minimal difference in speed between the tractor and the pusher and an unwanted tension built up between the two 18-axle units? Several hundred metric tons acting laterally on the thrust bearings, for which they were not designed, can cause tremendous damage.

But the colleagues from Baumann have a solution for this problem as well. As illogical as it sounds, the drive power of the two 8×6 bolides is not needed here, and the transmissions are switched to freewheel. Only the power of the Scheuerle axle lines is used to cross the bridge over the Borssum canal. However, only a few of the spectators present notice this. Directly behind it, the driver of the five-axle truck was able to release the load again and turn sideways onto the parking area. Meanwhile, the tractor vehicle was already standing at the intersection with Petkumer Straße.

The five-axle self-propelled unit with sliding mats is maneuvered under the transformer.

Protection also for the road

Already in the late hours of the afternoon, the escort team has generously covered all manhole covers and weak points on the main road with steel plates. This is necessary for the heavy transport in order not to cause any damage. Local residents, however, are quite annoyed by the protective measures, because cars driving over the many covers on the main road create a loud industrial-style concert. Apparently, this is what excites many of the city’s “horsepower posers”. After a brief check, the journey continues. The transformer can simply fly over the spacious inner area without any obstacles while the two 18-axle trucks turn onto the four-lane road. The 93-meter Baumann convoy is much quieter as the edges of the metal sheets are slowly pressed onto the asphalt at walking speed. All in all, local residents have become accustomed to the many heavy-duty trucks in Emden, so very few onlookers are lured to their doorsteps.

Metal plates are used to protect the road. However, the rolling noise of normal traffic over these plates annoys many residents, as “horsepower posers” like to drive over them frequently.

It’s all routine

After 650 meters, the team turns into a residential area. Since the Emden Ost substation will be the central converter station for the direct current from the Borkum Riffgrund West wind farm as well as other upcoming wind farms, the Wykhoffweg intersection is generously sized. Whenever new offshore wind turbines are connected, the substation must be increased in size. Nevertheless, full attention is required at this point as well, so as not to come into unwanted contact with obstacles anywhere. Only a good hundred meters further on, the access road narrows to a normal two-lane road that ends a little later at a curved bridge. This is covered with twin-wall sheets beforehand and closed to through traffic.

The convoy reaches the bridge. For protection, the bridge is covered with twin-wall sheets.

In addition, two more tractor units are parked there. The lead vehicle is a classic MAN TGX 41.640 8×4. A 20-meter long textile round sling is used to “couple” a Maurer TGX 41.640 8×6 as the heavy haulage truck approaches from behind. A sturdy tow bar is swiftly used to establish the connection. In addition, the pushing vehicle is turned around and coupled to the second 18-axle truck again with its rear coupling. When confirmation is received from Deutsche Bahn that the overhead line directly behind the bridge is to be de-energized, the level crossing can be laid out with steel plates, including the rails.

When cornering, the heavy load “flies over” many obstacles.

Die letzte Hürde

Zeit, die Motoren zu starten. Ganz langsam fährt der erste Vierachser die Steigung der Brücke hinauf. Im Abstand der stabilen Textilschlaufe folgt der erste Maurer-TGX. Das Tempo liegt weit unter Schrittgeschwindigkeit, denn die folgende Belastung für die Brücke ist bei dieser Überfahrt immens. Nur wenig später ist der zweite 8x6 von der Seite erkennbar, der die große Tragschnabelbrücke zieht. Als der große Trafo den Scheitelpunkt erreicht hat, ist das Führungsfahrzeug schon nicht mehr sichtbar. Kein Wunder bei einer geschätzten Gesamtzuglänge von über 120 Metern zu diesem Zeitpunkt. Wer geduldig genug ist, kann auch den letzten 8x6-TGX erkennen, der in Rückwärtsfahrt die Brücke hinaufgezogen wird. Aber warum nicht in normaler Fahrtrichtung? Da allein der Transformator samt Transporteinheit auf rund 600 Tonnen kommt, ist dies bedeutend zu viel für die Registerkupplung an der Front des letzten Vierachsers. Sollte wirklich eine Notlage eintreten und alles sicher zum Stehen kommen müssen, wäre die normale Kupplung an der Front komplett überlastet. Mit der großen 1.000-Tonnen-Kupplung von Rockinger am Heck der Maurer TGX 41.640 ist dies kein Problem.

The level crossing is also protected with steel plates.

Close to the target

During the crossing, the safety system is not stressed, and everything proceeds according to plan during the crossing of the railroad line as well. The additional two tractors are released from service again, and the pusher is coupled up in the direction of travel. 300 meters further on, the parking lot for the night is reached. Entry into the substation and unloading will take place during daylight on Sunday.

More tractor units are waiting to support the convoy and some of them were “hitched up.”
Text and photos: Jens Hadel

Facts & Figures


  • 13.952 meters long, 6.7 meters wide, and 4.995 meters high
  • 416 metric tons (transport weight)
  • Operating weight with oil and cooler (after installation) 580 metric tons

Scissor lift vessel trailer

  •  Presented for the first time in September 2013 at Greiner’s open house
  • Borrowed from Scales in France
  • Maximum payload: 500 metric tons
  • 2× 18-axle trailers (many other axle configurations are possible)

Tractor units

  • 1× MAN TGX 41.640 8×4/4 (MAN factory version)
  • 3× MAN TGX 41.640 Toni Maurer conversion to 8×6/4 with cranked frame (190 mm) 1,000-ton coupling at the rear Wheelbase between first and second axle extended by 250 mm
  • The factory engine torque of 3,000 Nm can be utilized by up to a factor of 1.58 thanks to the torque converter clutch
  • One-third of the maximum available torque of 4,740 Nm can be transmitted to the front axle by the driver
Permitted total towing weights of the Toni Maurer TGX
  • 500 metric tons with one towing vehicle
  • 750 metric tons with two pulling vehicles or one pulling and one pushing vehicle
  • 1,000 metric tons with two pulling and one pushing vehicle


  • Total distance approx. 5 km
  • Two bridges with different technical requirements
  • Two 90-degree curves plus entry into the transformer station