WA grain industry takes ownership of first rail fleet
Western Australia’s grain industry now owns its very first rail fleet as of last Friday, with CBH Group officially launching its $175m new fleet of locomotives and wagons to help haul the state’s annual grain harvest.
CBH's new locomotive
The event celebrated the purchase of 22 new locomotives (built by US company Motive Power), each named after historic rail sidings across the WA wheatbelt, and 574 new purpose-built wagons (built by Bradken), of which 446 are narrow gauge and 128 standard gauge.
This is the first dedicated new grain rail fleet to arrive in Western Australia in more than 30 years.
Among the crowd of around 700 guests and dignitaries at the CBH Group Metro Grain Centre in Forrestfield last Friday were minster for agriculture and food Terry Redman, federal special minister for state Gary Gray, CBH Group chairman Neil Wandel, CBH Group chief executive officer Dr Andrew Crane, and Watco Companies chief commercial officer Ed McKechnie.
CBH general manager operations Colin Tutt said the day marked two years of dedication and hard work to bring the “dream of growers” owning their own rail fleet to life and also marked the beginning of a very proud chapter in the history of the CBH Group and the WA grain industry.
“We will go from strength to strength this year as each train is commissioned and growers see more tonnes moving to port more efficiently,” Tutt said.
“The trains have state-of-the-art technology and across the fleet we'll have more horsepower to achieve faster journeys to port and faster turnaround times at sites.
“The locomotives have distributed power which means they can push and pull, allowing us to operate more efficiently and be far more productive. This coupled with our new light-weight aluminium wagons will revitalise rail in Western Australia.”
In 2012, CBH tendered its rail transport contract for the first time, with an aim to develop a new, long term arrangement for above-rail operations that delivered a more efficient, effective grain transport and logistics service to WA grain growers. CBH awarded its 10-year above-rail contract to US company Watco, which officially commenced in May.
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