Bedding coal has been delivered to the new Wiggins Island Coal Export Terminal (WICET) via the longest train rail operator Aurizon has ever put through its Central Queensland Coal Network.
The 2.3km train last week carried 11,000 tonnes of coal in 136 wagons through the Blackwater rail system to the new port, which was constructed by a joint venture of a number of coal mining companies.
The bedding coal is being used to establish the stockpiles at WICET as it gears up for its first shipments of export coal.
Aurizon’s executive vice president of operations Mike Franczak said the operation was a sign of things to come.
“We’re moving more tonnes, on larger trains, from mine to port as we drive improved efficiency across the coal supply chain,” Franczak said.
“This is an excellent outcome for customers, our supply chain partners and the Queensland coal industry generally.”
Franczak said the Brisbane-based rail company has achieved several innovative operational improvements in recent years, including lifting payloads, improving locomotive reliability, and bettering online performance.
“Quite simply, we are getting smarter about the way we use our existing assets,” Franczak continued. “The drive to improve train payloads at Aurizon draws on the very best available technology and innovation in the areas of train marshalling, train handling and track/train dynamics.”
The effect of this, he explained, is that as the company improves its capacity and productivity, it is also reducing the amount of workers on the trains, “making for a safer, more energy-efficient mode of transportation”.
Coal trains for export will commence in earnest next month. The average Aurizon train on the Central Queensland Coal Network has around 100 wagons and a pay load of about 8,500 tonnes of coal.