QR expands coal business
ON MARCH 14 Queensland Rail announced an A$41m contract for Siemens to rebuild three prototype Class 3100/3200 electric locos to provide 'a quantum leap in haulage capacity' on coal trains. Siemens will design and supply electrical components, with the conversion to be undertaken by United Goninan North Queensland in Townsville. A decision whether to convert further locos will be taken in 2006.
Last year QR committed A$200m to upgrade its electric coal locos over five years, starting with the 100 Hitachi-built 3100 - 3400 series operating on the Goonyella network at a cost of A$51m. An A$25m contract has been awarded to EDI Rail and Bombardier to rebuild 18 Asea-built Class 3900 general freight locomotives for coal. The next step will be an A$80m overhaul of the Class 3500 and 3600 locomotives used on the Blackwater routes in 2005-06. Under a related A$30m contract, Wabtec Australia is to supply control components for operating the locos with mid-train distributed power.
On March 17 QR ordered 11 more Class 4000 diesel locos from EDI Rail for A$61m. Augmenting a fleet of 38, they will be delivered from Walkers' Maryborough plant in 2004-05. The diesels will haul coal trains on a 108 km branch to the Rolleston mine in the Bowen Basin, 275 km west of Gladstone. Expected to open next year and eventually produce 8 million tonnes a year, the A$250m mine is being developed by MIM. A consortium of QR and Abigroup was selected by open tender last year to build and operate the A$200m branch, which will connect with QR's existing network at Blackwater.
- Chief Executive Bob Scheuber announced on February 28 that QR's NSW-based standard-gauge subsidiary Interail had won an A$15m contract to serve Duralie mine in the Hunter Valley over the next seven years. Due to start last month, the contract provides for up to 16 trains to move 30000 tonnes a week.