WABTEC has signed an agreement to deliver 28 rebuilt locomotives for Australian mining company Fortescue Metals Group, which according to the manufacturer will be the first delivery of rebuilt locomotives to Australia.

The AC44C6M diesel locomotives will be rebuilt at Wabtec’s Fort Worth facility in Texas, United States, before being delivered to Western Australia over the next two years for deployment at Fortescue’s mining operations.

“While we have completed more than 1000 modernisations for customers globally, it’s a first for Australia and demonstrates Fortescue’s commitment to drive more sustainable rail operations,” says Ms Wendy McMillan, senior regional vice-president, South East Asia, Australia and New Zealand, at Wabtec.

“By repurposing and rebuilding our locomotives, we give these heavy haul locomotives another 20 years of life, while reducing the fuel consumption and maintenance, and repair and overhaul expenses by up to 20%. For Fortescue, the locomotives will deliver up to a 55% increase in tractive effort and more than 40% increase in reliability.”

The modernised locomotives will benefit from improved performance and increased reliability with new features including a UX engine, new electrical cabinets, a high-efficiency radiator and radiator cab, an upgraded control system, and ac traction with individual axle control.

“The procurement of the modernised locomotives is an important element of Fortescue’s locomotive fleet strategy,” says general manager, Hedland Operations, Mr Mark Komene. “This newly modernised fleet will enable substantial long-term capital and operating cost savings, provide the latest traction and control technology, and enable future upgrades to alternative energy sources such as battery electric in support of Fortescue’s industry-leading target to be carbon neutral by 2030.”