Wednesday 28 June 2023

RailFirst EL class delivered to Rio Tinto's Paperbark Siding.

On Sunday the 25th of June 2023 the RailFirst EL class locomotives EL 51 'Might and Power' and EL 64 'Super Impose' completed their road journey from Parkeston (Kalgoorlie) to the Rio Tinto's Koodaideri (Gudai-Darri) mine railway line via Auski (Munjina) Roadhouse and were placed on Rio rails at the backtrack spur at Paperbark Siding, approx. 300 kilometres south of Port Hedland.

EL 51 'Might and Power' is the class leader, while and EL 64 'Super Impose' is the final member of the fourteen GE model C30-8 locomotives built by Goninan NSW between July 1990 and October 1991 for the then Federal Government operator Australian National.

EL 51 with serial number 8013-07/90-103 was delivered in July 1990 and originally named 'Bob Brown', after the Australian Labor politician who was the Minister for Land Transport at the time of delivery.

EL 64 with serial number 8013-07/90-116 was delivered in October 1991.

The EL class were transferred to National Rail upon start up in 1994 of the new national carrier and later, following delivery of new locomotives were subsequently returned to Australian National and then stored by 1997. In 1998 they were sold to CFCLA and rebuilt by Goninan and entered CFCLA lease service. CFCLA is now known as RailFirst, or Rail First Asset Management.

The locos and some ballast hoppers, along with some Brimble Rail track machines are expected to be at Rio for up to twelve months at this stage. The initial works are remediating the recently competed Koodaideri line.

Thursday 22 June 2023

EL class locomotives Pilbara bound.

Two RailFirst EL class locomotives were transhipped from rail to road floats at Parkeston WA on the 22nd of June 2023. They arrived in to Parkeston predawn on SCT's interstate service 2MP9.
The two EL class units are Goninan built C30-8 GE models, EL 51 serial number 8013-07 / 90-103, and EL 64 serial number 8013-10 / 91-116.

They will join eight former ARTC ballast waggons, CHRX class, which have also been road hauled to the Pilbara from Port Augusta / Spencer Junction.

The units are to be used for remedial ballast works on Rio Tinto's relatively new Koodaideri line.

A data sheet on the locomotives can be found on the RailFirst website, along with a data sheet for the CHRX ballast waggons.

Sunday 11 June 2023

FMG arvo action 1st June 2023.

Well, finally have my trusty Canon EF28-300mm f/3.5-5.6L IS USM back from repair after serval months since failing during September 2022. So, a test arvo out at my favourite FMG hack spot was undertaken.

First train of the arvo was FMG's EMD SD70ACe/P6 unit 725 serial number 20188761-004 leading stablemate SD70ACe/LCi unit 707 serial number 20118611-007 and General Electric 9-44CW unit 002 serial number 58179 as the triple header departs the port with an empty train for the mines. 1600 hrs 1st of June 2023.
The above image was taken at 300 mm, or full zoom, settings were an ISO of 250 and shutter of 1/640th with an aperture of F9 and handheld, pretty happy with the results as it matches the performance I experienced with the lens prior to the failure.

The above image was taken at 60 mm, settings were an ISO of 250 and shutter of 1/640th with an aperture of F9. Slightly brightened and some contrast.

Second movement of the arvo was the port pilot shunting out and back to allow another empty train to depart the port. The pilot locos were EMD SD70ACe/LCi 711 serial number 20118693-003 and GE rebuild AC44C6M 106 serial number 50634 with compressor car set CC005.
I took this shot out wide to show some of the industrial hardware that surrounds the port areas around Port Hedland. The power lines that crisscross the landscape also pass under the rail corridor. Photo detail was 50 mm at ISO 250 with a shutter of 1/800th and an aperture of F7.1.

The final movement for the arvo was a double header with FMG's EMD SD70ACe/P6 class leader locomotive 722 serial number 20188761-001 leading older stablemate SD70ACe/LCi unit 704 with serial number 20118611-004 departing the port with an empty train for the mines at 1638 hrs on the 1st of June 2023.
Taken in the golden hour before sunset, image taken at 50 mm at ISO 250 with a shutter of 1/640th and an aperture of F8.