Friday, July 24, 2009

QR signs new contract with global coal giant Peabody

National transport and logistics company QR today announced an 11 year contract with Peabody Energy Australia, a subsidiary of the world’s largest private sector coal producer Peabody Energy.

QR will support the contract with an investment of more than $100 million in rolling stock.

Under the contract, QR’s coal business QRNational Coal will deliver up to 12 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) of coal from Peabody’s Wambo and Wilpinjong mines to the Port of Newcastle for export to the Asian market from 2010.

"Peabody Energy Australia is excited about extending its partnership with QR into NSW to ensure efficient and effective transfer of its coal to both the existing coal port in Newcastle and the new Newcastle Infrastructure Group port of which Peabody is a shareholder," said Peabody Energy Australia Managing Director Julian Thornton.

QR Chief Executive Officer Lance Hockridge said QRNational Coal had been building credibility and market share in the Hunter Valley by demonstrating to customers that it understood their market needs.

“It is also pleasing to strengthen our working partnership with Peabody Energy Australia to build on our existing delivery of coal from five of Peabody’s operations in Queensland,” Mr Hockridge said.

QR’s Executive General Manager Coal Marcus McAuliffe said QRNational Coal aimed to repay Peabody’s faith by performing strongly and safely.

“With this contract we are increasing our minority share of the Hunter Valley market and cementing our position as a strong number two player in the market – evidence of our quality of service offering,” Mr McAuliffe said.

“The strong growth prospects of this market are underlined by the fact that we expect demand for rail capacity to the Port of Newcastle to more than double in the next decade.”


Thursday, 25 June 2009
The Premier, John Brumby, today announced Metro Trains Melbourne (MTM) as the preferred tenderer to operate Melbourne’s metropolitan rail network.

Mr Brumby said MTM’s bid represented the best value for Victorian taxpayers and focused on improving services for passengers and creating a more reliable and safer network.

“Most importantly, Metro Trains Melbourne made it clear that its priority is to focus on what we believe are non-negotiables for Melbourne commuters: punctuality, safety, reliability, customer service and cleanliness,” Mr Brumby said.

“At a network level, we believe we have selected the operator that provides the best value for money and will best work with our Government to transform Melbourne’s rail network into a metro system.”

MTM will operate the network for eight years with a contract option to extend its term for a further seven.

A key element of the new contract is a new Customer Service Regime which will offer incentives for MTM to improve customer service announcements, cleanliness, graffiti removal and increased personal safety on the rail network.

“MTM will provide more jobs on the network with a focus on customer service and apprentices, building up the skill base we need as we transform Melbourne’s rail network,” Mr Brumby said.

MTM will begin operating Melbourne’s train network as the Government delivers key network investments, including the Regional Rail Link, 38 new trains; the South Morang rail extension, electrification of the Sydenham line to Sunbury and the new Melbourne Metro rail tunnel.

“MTM will partner our Government in delivering a generational transformation of the suburban train network through our $38 billion Victorian Transport Plan,” he said.

Mr Brumby said MTM would begin operating Melbourne’s metropolitan train network from December and the company had a proven track record of operating metropolitan train networks, achieving 99 per cent reliability for the Hong Kong rail network.

The new train contract will also include a 50 per cent increase in funding for rail maintenance to keep the system operating at its peak performance and also generating jobs.

Public Transport Minister Lynne Kosky said MTM’s bid outlined its success in operating Hong Kong’s mass transit system and the London Overground.

“MTM will prove to be a successful partner for the Brumby Labor Government in improving rail services and can draw on its international expertise and knowledge base,” Ms Kosky said.

“They will bring innovation and new ideas as Melbourne’s rail network grows and expands through the investments the Brumby Labor Government is making through the $38 billion Victorian Transport Plan.

“MTM will help the Brumby Labor Government fulfil our goal of running more services, for more people, more often.

“I would like to acknowledge the hard work and commitment of Connex and its parent company Veolia Environment over the past 10 years which has seen a massive growth in patronage.”

Final discussions will take place leading to the signing of the new operating contract in August.

The Government is confident Connex will meet its current obligations in the existing contract before MTM takes control of the network in December this year.

Ms Kosky said the exhaustive and competitive international tender process began in 2007 and has been overseen by an independent probity auditor.

MTM is a joint venture between Hong Kong’s MTR Corporation Ltd, Australian companies John Holland Melbourne Rail Franchise Pty Ltd (John Holland) and United Group Rail Services Ltd (UGL).

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Friday, July 17, 2009

Downer EDI Rail’s GT46C ACe locomotive hailed ‘King of the Mountain’

Following independent testing of Australia’s, mainline diesel-electric standard gauge locomotives, Downer EDI Rail’s GT46C ACe, has claimed the title of ‘king of the mountain’, comprehensively beating its competitors.

RailCorp recently conducted a formal back-to-back trial of the two Australian designed and manufactured mainline locomotives on the steeply graded Cowan Bank.

Downer EDI Rail CEO, Guy Wannop said this section of track (north of Sydney) formed part of the busiest mainline in Australia, mixing commuter passenger services with intermodal and bulk freight trains.

“Given the combined function of the line, it is critical for train operators and the track owner to maintain strict schedules for train running times to avoid congestion,” Mr Wannop said.

Three AC traction locomotives from both suppliers were tested separately, each hauling the same 4250 tonne coal train in a back to back comparison test up the Cowan Bank to determine if the section running times for that portion of track could be met by these locomotive models.

“Previously four older DC style locomotives were required however, the three Downer EDI Rail GT46C ACes were proven to perform superbly under the wet rail conditions, hauling the specified load in just 20 minutes. This is two minutes faster than the specified freight train section time,” Mr Wannop said.

“The superior performance of the Downer EDI Rail locomotive was achieved as a result of the advanced AC traction control system on the GT46C ACe combined with the high adhesion bogie design.

“These results highlight the benefits of AC traction to rail operators. The GT46C ACe reduces transit times, allows for increased loads, and lowers fuel consumption more than any other diesel-electric locomotive currently on the network,” Mr Wannop said.

Downer EDI Rail also recently conducted a fuel consumption test of a GT46C ACe locomotive with the assistance of an independent testing laboratory. The tests confirmed that the engine and support systems of the GT46C ACe provide significantly lower brake specific fuel consumption than competitive locomotives.

The GT46C ACe, designed and built by Downer EDI Rail, features many benefits for operators including a 10,000 litre fuel capacity, in-line fuelling, 4300 traction horsepower for intermodal speeds, reduced fuel consumption and is the only Tier 2 emissions ready standard gauge locomotive on the Australian interstate network. It is currently in service with SCT Logistics and QRNational.

Downer EDi Limited