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Aurizon leads the way in Hunter Valley coal haulage

Aurizon is leading the way in Hunter Valley coal haulage with the first service using distributed power leaving BHP Billiton’s Mt Arthur mine yesterday.
The inaugural service, which unloaded at the Newcastle Coal Infrastructure Group export facility last night, is the result of strong collaboration across the coal supply chain to ensure Aurizon’s facilities, the mine and port can allow for the newly configured trains.

Catherine Baxter, General Manager of NSW Coal Operations said Aurizon was proud to partner with its customer, BHP Billiton to introduce the distributed power trains to the coal supply chain.

“Aurizon is the first operator in the Hunter Valley to introduce distributed power into its coal heavy haul business.

“We are proud to partner with our foundation customer BHP to have the first of these trains enter operations.

“This proven technology will reduce in-train forces and ensure improved rollingstock reliability,” said Ms Baxter.

Distributed power allows locomotives to be placed anywhere within a train with the aim of distributing traction and braking forces more evenly over the train’s length and reducing the magnitude of draft forces (tensile forces acting on couplings that connect wagons).

While Aurizon operates distributed power trains in the Central Queensland Coal Network, the standard revenue coal trains in the Hunter Valley have previously been configured with two head-end locomotives followed by 88 coal wagons.

With this configuration, Ms Baxter said the trains experienced the highest draft forces within its national coal fleet.

“The distributed power trains will now have one locomotive at the front of the train and another at the rear, or toward the rear, of the train. Preliminary simulation work predicted peak draft force reductions in the order of 40% and average fatigue damage reductions of approximately 55%, with trials supporting these results.

“This greatly improves our service reliability for our customer, and in time we will also work to increase our train lengths using the benefits of this technology,” said Ms Baxter.