CBH grain wagons go to work early

05 Apr, 2012 02:00 AM
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CBH ran its first train from Merredin to the Kwinana grain terminal on Friday. The CBH wagons were led by a leased locomotive.
CBH ran its first train from Merredin to the Kwinana grain terminal on Friday. The CBH wagons were led by a leased locomotive.

MONTHS of planning have resulted in action as CBH and Watco commissioned the partnership's first grain train from Merredin to CBH's Kwinana terminal on Friday.

The journey was made four weeks earlier than expected with the help of a leased locomotive which hauled 50 of CBH's new aluminium wagons to port laden with more than 3500 tonnes of wheat.

CBH general manager of operations Colin Tutt said the journey was a huge accomplishment for CBH and Watco and an enormous amount of work had gone into making the first trip happen within an extremely tight time frame.

"We are delighted to see our first train moving grain on behalf of WA growers," he said in a recent statement.

CBH leased a small number of locomotives including two from CFCL Australia, a subsidiary of Chicago Freight Car Leasing Company, to pull its wagons while it transitioned to its own full fleet for the 2012/13 harvest.

"Delivery schedules for all of our rolling stock are on track with our initial plans," Mr Tutt said.

"We will have the leased locomotives over the next six months to help out with the transition.

"Leasing locomotives allows us to start using our wagons earlier than when our own locomotives are to be delivered and get the most from our new partnership with Watco.

"Given the record harvest just gone and the need to get better performance from rail to meet our export task, CBH pushed hard to get on the tracks earlier than the original May 1 commencement date.

"We are ready, willing and able to get out there and provide more capacity on rail."

Watco WA Rail chief operating officer Jim Griffiths said the rail company had advanced the grain haul start-up by 32 days to help CBH get tonnes to port.

"The support of our number one customer, CBH and the grain growers of WA in this key transportation initiative has been overwhelming," he said.

Relieving operations manager Mick Daw said not much feedback about the christening of the CBH wagons had been received from growers yet because in the lead up CBH wasn't 100 per cent certain of when the first train would actually run.

When Farm Weekly spoke to Mr Daw on Monday he said the locomotive and wagons were set to run another three times this week and would cart grain from Kellerberrin on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

"Then we'll really start to increase the frequency of the train's movements as things start to roll more smoothly," he said.

"We're already starting to see productivity gains including faster on-site loading and quicker turn-around times."

Mr Daw also put an end to rumours that a number of CBH's new locomotives had been held up by recent flood waters on the east coast of Australia.

"Some of the leased locomotives that were on their way to WA by rail were held up in the Northern Territory by a bridge that got washed out," he said.

"It was quite catastrophic and it took quite a while to get them across the bridge.

"But everything which belongs to CBH's rail investment will be shipped directly to WA ports."

CBH awarded its 10- year above rail contract to Watco late in 2010.

The contract is set to officially commence on May 1, 2012.

The first of CBH's 22 locomotives is on its way to WA from the USA, with the remaining 21 not far behind and of the 574 wagons, 128 standard gauge wagons are already on WA soil.

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READER COMMENTS

ldavid
25/04/2012 6:13:07 AM, on Farm Weekly

How can they claim quicker loading times, when the delivery chutes still deliver the grain at the same rate they always have. I have also been lead to believe, their train has been restricted to 70kph, if so the round trip will take longer. I think its about time WA growers started having a closer look at this & start asking some questions.

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