Pandrol Double Heavy Haul Acceptance: The Longest and the Heaviest
Pandrol has achieved an historic double in being selected as the fastening of choice for both the world’s longest new...
Pandrol has achieved an historic double in being selected as the fastening of choice for both the world’s longest new heavy haul railway in Saudi Arabia, and the worlds heaviest heavy haul railway in the Pilbara, Australia.
Saudi Arabia compares favourably in size to the whole of Western Europe, and sits amongst the 25 largest economies in the world, yet their rail network remained relatively modest.
In 2002, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia announced its intention to upgrade and expand its existing railway. Three new railway lines will be constructed: Saudi Landbridge, Makka Madinha Rail Link, and the North-South Railway.
At 2400km in length, the North-South railway is the longest heavy haul railway in the world currently being constructed, and will link the phosphate mines of Al Jalamid to Riyadh, with branch lines from Al Haditha and Al Basata.
The project is being funded by the Saudi Government, and is being overseen by the Public Investment Fund (PIF), which is part of the ministry of finance. The implementation and project management consultancy is in the joint hands of Louis Berger, Systra, Canarail and the Saudi Consolidated Co., who have written a track specification to require a world class standard for Heavy Haul Railway Construction.
The track will be capable of carrying 32.4 tonne axle loads using CEN60E1 rail and locally produced concrete sleepers, which will be laid at 1800/km spacing. The structures will be built to accommodate double track, but the initial construction will be single track, with 11 passing loops each of 3.5km in length.
The project will require the supply of approximately 4 million sleepers over a maximum period of 4 years, with a peak annual demand of 1.25 million sleepers. The PANDROL FASTCLIP elastic rail fastening designed for heavy haul track has been chosen for the project.
Deliveries of the Pandrol fastening commenced in early 2008, and sleeper deliveries will continue until the end of 2010.
Fortescue Metals Group (FMG) is an iron ore mining company, based in the Pilbara in Australia. Frustrated by its inability to gain access for its trains on existing Pilbara iron ore railways, and desperate to meet growing demand for iron ore from China, the company decided the only options was to construct its own 260km Heavy Haul railway, to run from its mine at Cloud Break to their newly constructed Cargo Ship Port, Herb Elliott Port, close to Port Hedland.
Construction began in November 2006, in the capable hands of infrastructure specialist Laing O’Rourke’s rail division.
The railway has been built to accommodate 40 tonne axle loads, which makes it the heaviest railway in the world. The 1435mm gauge line used 38,000 tonnes of 68kg/m continuously welded rails; 420,000 concrete sleepers; eight bridges; 360 culverts, and is equipped throughout with Pandrol fastenings.
Tracklaying was carried out using a Plasser and Theurer SUM fully automated tracklayer, complemented by two manual tracklaying crews at either end of the machine, achieving a tracklaying rate of around 3km per day. A decision to operate two independent material trains instead of one also boosted productivity. A new Australian tracklaying record of 3,292m in a single day was achieved.
Construction was completed by April 2008, and the first load or ore moved by train.