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Wallenius Wilhelmsen goes loco in Tasmania

<span class="" id="parent-fieldname-description"> The Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics’ PCTC Aniara discharged three much-anticipated pieces of cargo during a special Bell Bay call on Friday, November 15. </span> <p>The 229m ro-ro carried two new locomotives and a tamper loaded 32 days earlier in Savannah, Georgia as the first shipment of an order 17 PR22L-type locos built by Downer Rail and partner Progress Rail for TasRail.</p><p>The 107-tonne, 2000hp locos are the first brand new engines for the Tasmanian rail system in over 40 years and the new fleet is valued at over $60m.</p><p>Further deliveries will take place throughout 2014.</p><p>TasRail CEO Damien White said the new locomotives would allow for significant efficiency gains across the network, primarily in the areas of fuel usage, haulage capacity along with lower maintenance costs and increased environmental benefits.</p><p>“This really is a red-letter day for TasRail, and marks the culmination of two years of hard work across the organisation from when we signed the contract of supply back in December 2011,” he said.</p><p>Since buying back the rail network (May 2007) and above-rail business (September 2009) from Asciano’s Pacific National the government has struggled to keep the re-launched TasRail functioning in the face of track and equipment failures.</p><p>However, under a Rail Recovery program the Federal government has provided $210m for refurbishment and/or replacement of critical track and network infrastructure and the Tasmanian government $137m over seven years for new locos, rolling stock and other equipment.</p><p>TasRail is about midway through a sleeper replacement project, for which 160,000 concrete sleepers are being shipped to Tasmania from Marsden Point, NZ, by NISE Line’s Norfolk Guardian.</p><p>New rail is shipped from South Australia on overnight Bass Strait service.<br />Spliethoff’s MPP Dynamogracht called at Bell Bay in mid-September to discharge eight Chinese-built rolling stock prototypes, the first two of each of 36 ore wagons, 17 coal wagons, 18 cement wagons and 120 intermodal wagons.</p><p>Friday’s shipment was carried on and discharged from Aniara on Mafi trailers and transferred to low-loaders on the Bell Bay wharf for road transport to TasRail’s East Tamar maintenance facility.</p><p>Although Bell Bay is nominally rail-serviced the Bell Bay-Launceston line has been closed since the 2011 withdrawal of Triple A consortium weekly container calls and the closure of Agility Shipping’s Bell Bay Melbourne service.</p><p>Following testing and commissioning work the first two new locos will enter regular commercial traffic early in the New Year.</p><p>The tamper – used to pack (or tamp) ballast under rail lines – is a proven Harsco Mark IV model and will take TasRail’s fleet to three owned and one hired unit.</p><p>The network has a total of 632 route kilometres of operational narrow-gauge lines and a further 211km of non-operational lines.</p><p>TasRail’s flagship service is its bi-directional daily Hobart-Burnie containerised paper and intermodal train.<br />&nbsp</p>