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Case Study

Resource Rail Rolling Stock Procurement

train on tracks

Advising on train operations optimisation, technology opportunities and rolling stock procurement

The Situation

Whitehaven Coal is the largest coal producer in the Northwest New South Wales Gunnedah Basin, operating five mines, all connected to the Hunter Valley rail network. In conjunction with a major expansion programme, Whitehaven instigated a project to investigate maximising coal haulage from mine to port within existing infrastructure constraints. Whitehaven appointed Advisian as advisors on train operations optimisation, technology opportunities and rolling stock procurement.  

Approach

Our approach to the brief was to adopt a systems approach to train specification. We first tested whether traditionally fixed constraints could be improved on, for example, by re-visiting bridge load ratings, leading to improved load density, and an increase in coal carried by a fixed length train. 

Optimised constraints featured as one input into our train operations simulation investigations which also included detailed analysis of longitudinal train dynamics so as to assure against ‘pull-aparts’ - a major risk in heavy haul operations. 

Services provided by Advisian included:

  • Synthesis of ideal train configuration by dynamic train performance simulation

  • Transport economics optimisation

  • Identification of unexploited infrastructure opportunities

  • Technical specifications for locomotives and wagons

  • Mine and port interface management

  • Expressions of Interest preparation and tender evaluation

  • Project management of delivery

  • Railway safety accreditation

  • Train testing in service to verify theoretical predictions of performance

Results 

Our extensive repository of directly relevant knowledge and experience was leveraged to maximise the value of all aspects of our services. Whitehaven’s objective to operate the most efficient coal trains in this region was realised upon delivery of this project setting a new benchmark for train operating efficiency in the region.

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