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International Spotlight: New Class of Locomotives in Australia

NRE lives and breathes where the “big boys” can’t play. Kirby Roseveare, Vice President of International Sales at NRE, sums it up that way. He’s talking about NRE’s recent contract with WATCO Australia for the design and build of eight light-axle, narrow-gauge locomotives in support of a large, new haulage contract.

Watco Australia, a subsidiary of Watco Companies, is a rail haulage operator that was formed in 2010 to haul grain for the CBH Group in Western Australia. Next year, it will start operating in Queensland under a seven-year contract with GrainCorp.

“WATCO demanded the utilization of a proven medium-speed diesel prime mover,” Roseveare said. “And being lean and agile, NRE is able to design and deliver that unique design within the required timeline.”

Using remanufactured major components, NRE is also able to stay within the capital expenditure limitations while delivering a proven, reliable product.

“The Queensland Australia network requires a very specific and unique set of design parameters,” Roseveare said.

The locomotives must be narrow-gauge (1,067 millimeter). They must have six axles, each able to carry 15.75 metric tons, with new NRE bogies. They must have 2,250 traction horsepower with a minimum radius curve of 80 millimeters. They must weigh no more than 94.5 metric tons with dimensions that do not exceed 3,900 millimeters in height, 2,850 millimeters in width and 19,018 in length.

Requirements also include a 12-645E3B diesel engine, an AR10/D14 main alternator, companion, 761 traction motors, a WBO compressor. The locomotive must have at least 27% adhesion available during traction mode with 99% reliability in all weather conditions and must demonstrate 250kN of adhesion-limited tractive effort.

Queensland Rail, founded in 1865, has more than 6,500 kilometers of track and 2,200 stations in Australia. The company has more than $6.9 billion in total assets and $1.9 billion in revenue, and employs more than 6,000.