MANILDRA Group has signed a long-term agreement with Australian rail freight operator Southern Shorthaul Railroad (SSR) to manage and operate its rail services in New South Wales (NSW) from November 1 2024, as the company invests $A 200m ($US 133.3m) in its own fleet of locomotives and wagons.

Freight trains carrying Manildra products are currently hauled by Pacific National, which uses its own locomotives and rolling stock.

Manildra produces a range of food and industrial products including wheat flour, starch, ethanol and stockfeed for domestic and export markets. The group operates major grain processing facilities at Manildra in western NSW and at Bomaderry, south of Sydney.

The group has ordered 17 3.2MW GT46Ace Gen II locomotives from Progress Rail, as well as 222 aluminium-bodied 100 tonne grain wagons, 60 100 tonne flour wagons, and 103 100 tonne, 60ft container wagons.

All wagons will feature electronically-controlled pneumatic brakes (ECP) and be fitted with auto park brakes (APB), which will eliminate the need for holding tests and manually applying the handbrakes. Trains operating to and from the Bomaderry facility will operate in Wired Distributed Power (WDP) mode. ECP Overlay will also be fitted to Manildra’s existing fleet of 70 flour wagons.

SSR will provide drivers and oversee day to day operation of all services and will hire around 75 new staff. The contract gives SSR a 100% market share of domestic milling grain carried by rail in NSW and Victoria.

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