AUSTRALIA: Southern Shorthaul Railroad and the Australian Rail Track Corp have co-operated to run what they say is the longest export grain train in the country’s history. At 1 250 m long, the five-loco, 73-wagon train is more than twice the length of regular grain trains on the line.

The train ran around 400 km from Moree and Narrabri to the port of Newcastle on the night of December 1-2. It was then unloaded in a single pass on a continuous balloon loop at Newcastle Agri Terminal, from where the grain is being shipped to Asia.

ARTC gave special dispensation to increase axleloading from 20 to 23 tonnes and boosting net payload from around 2 000 to more than 5 000 tonnes.

While the run was a one-off, the rail operators hope that similar trains will operate regularly in the future. There are also plans to further increase axleloading to 25 tonnes.