Aurizon invests $180 million in Central Queensland fleet upgrade
A $180 million investment in 40 high-tech track machines and specialised wagons by Australia's largest rail freight operator, Aurizon will underpin the delivery of ever-increasing export coal tonnages for Queensland miners.
Pictured: (left to right): Aurizon’s Managing Director and CEO Lance Hockridge with the Manager for Mechanised Production Mick Keefe and the Vice President for Network Operations Clay McDonald in front of the new Banga Yulgabari Gudyara.
On Thursday, Aurizon's Managing Director & CEO, Lance Hockridge unveiled one of the new 62 metre, 193 tonne track machines at a ceremony at Sarina attended by 60 local employees.
These machines maintain the rail sleepers and rock ballast across the 2,670 kilometres of rail track for 25,000 train services per year, that weigh on average 9,000 tonnes per train.
"Track construction and maintenance, like Aurizon, has been transformed in recent times. We are now more productive, more innovative, using world leading technology and most importantly we are safer," Mr Hockridge said.
"These massive machines operate on the $5 billion asset which is the Central Queensland Coal Network, the supply chain that links more than 40 mines with state's export ports.
"In 2013/14 the Central Queensland Coal Network carried record volumes of 214 million tonnes. This investment in new track machines is fundamental to driving even higher tonnage throughput for our customers, while improving safety and reliability across the network.
"The upgrade of our mechanised fleet means the Central Queensland Coal Network, critical to the state's coal sector, will remain in the best possible condition. "
At the event, Aurizon's Managing Director and CEO paid tribute to the team of employees who operated the machine.
"Our employees that operate these machines are at the 'heart of our business', they are the quiet achievers, day-in and day-out, looking after the Central Queensland Coal Network.
"These are the people that will use these machines to get the network up and running quicker following natural disasters and will ensure it remains a world class asset carrying out more productive and efficient maintenance practices.
"Ultimately the arrival of these new machines mean we will be able to do more quality work in far less time, something that is critical as we continue to transform," he said.
Aurizon recognised the traditional land it operates on after unveiling one of the machines emblazoned with Indigenous artwork and the name 'Banga Yulgabari Gudyara' meaning 'scrub, track-path-road, sea.'
Central Queensland's Barada Barna people provided the artwork and suggested the name for the new piece of machinery.