The Fortescue Railway operates some of the longest and heaviest trains in the world, and in the seven years since it began hauling iron-ore across the deserts of the Pilbara region, it continues to push the technical boundaries of heavy-haul. Keith Barrow reports from Western Australia on the latest developments in Fortescue's unrelenting quest for greater efficiency and higher capacity.
IRJ at railway Interchange: Loram showed its new Shoulder Ballast Cleaner 2400 at the outdoor exhibition area at BNSF's Northtown yard in Minneapolis.
The new machine has enhanced automation and can operate at speeds up to 6.5km/h and in curves of up to 17o. The 15 high-capacity conveyors can process more than 2400m3/h.
Mr Dennis Mathison, Loram's chief engineer, says the objective is to double shoulder cleaning production to allow twice the amount of track to be serviced.
The machine's automation features include a sequential automatic start-up of its digging wheels, conveyors and work mechanisms; automatic digging depth and scarifier control; bulk sensing conveyor flow measurement; an obstacle detection and avoidance system; advanced crossing sequencing capability and an advanced ethernet camera system.