GE ES44ACi locos for Roy Hill (Australia)

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GE ES44ACi locos for Roy Hill (Australia)

Postby MEC407 » Fri Mar 27, 2015 9:45 am

From GEreports:

GEreports wrote:More than 70% of the locomotives that are hard at work in Australian mining today were made by GE in the United States. Roy Hill, Western Australia’s brand new, innovation-focussed iron-ore mine, is on schedule to begin shipping ore in September, and will one day have 21 GE EVO AC Heavy Haul locomotives at the heart of its operation. The first 14 have arrived in Port Hedland, where Locomotive 1001, was christened “Ginny” at a celebration on March 23.
. . .
In Australia, at the March 23 celebration to christen Roy Hill’s first loco, chairman Gina Rinehart described the GE ES44ACI as “one of the best looking machines I have ever seen in the Pilbara”. Roy Hill’s CEO Barry Fitzgerald explained that the project was ticking off a range of very specific requirements for its locos; he said that the company had researched the market and, “after careful analysis, decided on the GE ES44ACI, the most technologically advanced heavy-haul machines available”.

And they can take the heat. “We don’t manufacture a locomotive with a higher ambient temperature specification than the Pilbara locomotive — 55 degrees Celsius,” says GE Transportation’s Fraser Borden, account leader on the Roy Hill project. “We don’t run a locomotive anywhere in the world that’s hotter than here. The advanced cooling system is the most important feature, to be able to cope with the heat that they have to run in for six months of the year.”


Article and photos: http://gereports.com.au/post/25-03-2015 ... uper-smart
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Re: GE ES44ACi locos for Roy Hill (Australia)

Postby Allen Hazen » Sat Mar 28, 2015 12:17 am

Thanks for posting that link!! Nice article.
---
Comments (for readers not familiar with Western Australian iron ore railroading):
---A few EMD locomotives have been used there, but the various operators seem to have preferred GE traction motors from the start of iron ore railroading in W.A. There were large fleets of Alco C-636, including some built in Australia by Alco's licensees, and some later ones built to more the M-636 design. (My sense, though I don't think I could document it, is that the Alco "Hi-Ad" truck was more popular with the operators than the Dofasco truck on the M-636.)
---By the end of the 1970s, though Alco 251 engines were still being manufactured, Alco locomotives were, I think, no longer seen as technological leaders: MLW/BBD wasn't able to invest in the kind of r. and d. that GE and EMD could put into improving their locomotive offerings, and so other options were investigated. (This is my take on what happened.) The first big GE locomotives-- three C36-7 -- were acquired by one operator at that time.
---The different operators acquired large GE fleets (C40-8, C44-9W, AC60, I think AC44…) over the following decades. (One interesting variant: GE power plants, in C36-7 or C40-8 hoods, were installed on the frames of a few retired Alcos. So there were a small number of locomotives with, above the frame, typical GE looks, but with Alco fuel tanks and Hi-Ad trucks. (Cabs, however, would not look familiar to North Americans: an Australian design crew cab was used.))
---Australia isn't governed by U.S. air pollution requirements, so some of the iron ore railroads acquired C44-9 units after Domestic production had switched to ES44.

---It's HOT in the Pilbara region (North of Perth, railroads connecting mines to ports on the Indian Ocean). Locomotives built for service there often have added radiator capacity. The first C36-7 units had an extra radiator core near the front end of the long hood (between the operating cab and the engine room), with miniature "wingspans." More recent GE units have sometimes been built on longer-than-standard frames (AC60 size) to accommodate lengthened hoods with extra radiator capacity. Given the angle of the photos in the linked article, it's hard to be sure, but I ***think*** these latest ES44 units have longer radiators than standard North American ES44.

Again, thanks for posting this link. The Pilbara iron ore operations are interesting railroads: U.S. style locomotives on very heavy unit trains.
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Re: GE ES44ACi locos for Roy Hill (Australia)

Postby MEC407 » Sat Mar 28, 2015 9:57 am

And thank you for your insight, Allen! It's nice to have observations from someone who is more familiar with the region than most of us.
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Re: GE ES44ACi locos for Roy Hill (Australia)

Postby NorthWest » Thu May 21, 2015 8:49 am

I'd just like to add a bit of information to Allen's great post:
Allen Hazen wrote:Thanks for posting that link!! Nice article.
---
Comments (for readers not familiar with Western Australian iron ore railroading):
---A few EMD locomotives have been used there, but the various operators seem to have preferred GE traction motors from the start of iron ore railroading in W.A. There were large fleets of Alco C-636, including some built in Australia by Alco's licensees, and some later ones built to more the M-636 design. (My sense, though I don't think I could document it, is that the Alco "Hi-Ad" truck was more popular with the operators than the Dofasco truck on the M-636.)

Except for the first 5 Alcos, C628s, and 4 C630s rebuilt from C&O units, all were built in Australia by Alco's various licensees. When MLW took over Alco's locomotive design, they attempted to have the Dofasco truck adopted in Australia. Hamersley Iron accepted this, but Mount Newman Mining managed to have their units built with Hi-Ad trucks until Comeng took over the license from AE Goodwin. They were then forced to buy the Dofasco trucks, but avoided the MLW wide cab that was strongly suggested.
Allen Hazen wrote:---By the end of the 1970s, though Alco 251 engines were still being manufactured, Alco locomotives were, I think, no longer seen as technological leaders: MLW/BBD wasn't able to invest in the kind of r. and d. that GE and EMD could put into improving their locomotive offerings, and so other options were investigated. (This is my take on what happened.) The first big GE locomotives-- three C36-7 -- were acquired by one operator at that time.

Hamersley Iron purchased the C36-7s at the same time as 5 SD50S units (also modified for Australian conditions). The GEs proved more popular in the long run, and garnered repeat orders.
Allen Hazen wrote:---The different operators acquired large GE fleets (C40-8, C44-9W, AC60, I think AC44…) over the following decades. (One interesting variant: GE power plants, in C36-7 or C40-8 hoods, were installed on the frames of a few retired Alcos. So there were a small number of locomotives with, above the frame, typical GE looks, but with Alco fuel tanks and Hi-Ad trucks. (Cabs, however, would not look familiar to North Americans: an Australian design crew cab was used.)

The Australian wide cab was introduced on 12 Comeng C636 rebuilds that retained their Alco innards. Further Alcos were rebuilt in similar fashion until the rebuilding switched to FDL repowerings with the Pilbara cab. Remarkably, four new CM39-8s were built on completely new frames.
Allen Hazen wrote:---Australia isn't governed by U.S. air pollution requirements, so some of the iron ore railroads acquired C44-9 units after Domestic production had switched to ES44.

The Pilbara roads are the only users of the GEVO in Australia. Other railroads continue to purchase FDl-powered units due to the lack of strict emissions regulations.
Allen Hazen wrote:---It's HOT in the Pilbara region (North of Perth, railroads connecting mines to ports on the Indian Ocean). Locomotives built for service there often have added radiator capacity. The first C36-7 units had an extra radiator core near the front end of the long hood (between the operating cab and the engine room), with miniature "wingspans." More recent GE units have sometimes been built on longer-than-standard frames (AC60 size) to accommodate lengthened hoods with extra radiator capacity. Given the angle of the photos in the linked article, it's hard to be sure, but I ***think*** these latest ES44 units have longer radiators than standard North American ES44.

They do. The GEVO apparently needs to run at a specific heat range to operate efficiently, and the larger radiators are fitted to help with this. The 710 is more tolerant, and so stock (if lowered slightly) radiators are used on Pilbara SD70ACes. I think heat problems had a lot to do with the early retirements of the BHP AC6000CWs.
Allen Hazen wrote:Again, thanks for posting this link. The Pilbara iron ore operations are interesting railroads: U.S. style locomotives on very heavy unit trains.

I second this. Thanks for posting; the whole of Australian railroading is fascinating.
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