BHP Iron Ore is to start installing electronically-controlled air brakes on 240 wagons for its Mount Newman mineral railway in Western Australia, using radio to transmit braking signals along the train. It has selected EPx Direct Braking equipment and TrainTalk radio technology from GE Harris Railway Electronics of Florida. Mount Newman’s experiments with longer and heavier trains have been limited by the speed of propagation of brake signals, but ECP brakes are applied and released virtually simultaneously along the train, providing better handling characteristics, lower in-train forces and a more even brake application.

EPx Direct Braking installations include an emulation valve which can operate in both ECP and conventional modes. This will allow refitted wagons to be marshalled in mixed trains pending the completion of installation. Use of TrainTalk intra-train radio links avoids the need to install and maintain inter-car jumper cables in the harsh Pilbara environment. o