Australia’s new generation of freight trains.
The SCT Logistics freight train (above) is the largest train that crosses the Australian continent, from Melbourne to Perth - a distance of 3500 km. In 2004, when SCT did not even own a locomotive, SCT commissioned Halcrow as its technical advisor to help with the procurement of rolling stock.
We began by modelling the route, noting that the Melbourne to Perth rail line includes the longest straight length of track in the world, 478 km across the Nullabor Plain, contrasting with the tight curves and steep gradients of the route through the Adelaide Hills.
Following this study Halcrow worked on the specification, the tendering process and the project management for the acquisition of 15 locomotives. Designated the SCT GT46Ace, they were the first AC mainline locomotives in Australia. They’re also the most powerful, at 4500HP, can haul up to 30% more than previous locomotives and are more fuel efficient.
A unique difficulty for SCT was that the only fuelling stop in the middle of the Nullabor Plain was operated by their major competitor. So Halcrow worked with SCT to develop an inline system that allows the locomotives to be continuously fuelled from rail tankers, making it possible to cross the Nullarbor without refuelling.
Another project for SCT was to procure old carriages and refurbish them for crew accommodation, essential on a journey of this distance. The work included strengthening of the under frames as the carriages, placed just behind the locomotives, now have to operate with nearly 100 wagons behind them.
The successful outcome of these projects has confirmed the relationship between Halcrow and SCT, leading to a commission to procure further locomotives for SCT, this time from a Chinese supplier. They are needed to service a mining contract to move iron ore from Coober Pedy to Port Augusta in South Australia.
Read more on the development of the GT46Ace locomotive here.