Re: An introduction and a question

Steve O'Dea

Hi Brian,


Thanks for that feedback.  I need all the help I can get on both construction and operational issues!


If pushing back isn’t viable would an option of two engines (one at either end) resolve that or is it just better to suck up the initial capital and put a loop in each end?


I’m looking at 5,000 tonnes of ore per day on a six days per week haulage and one day of maintenance.  A train hauling 1,000t would have to make five round trips (some sugar cane trains haul 1,000 tonnes) and anything more would be a bonus in reducing the number of trips.


Budget is simple – capital plus operating cost must be materially less than off highway road haulage.   Additionally the capital cost must be significantly less than the cost of moving the processing plant 60km (another valid alternative).


Budget estimate for road construction is $20M, operating cost is ~$12M per year (including road maintenance), mine life 10 – 15 years.  So total cost of ~$140M to $200M over ten to fifteen years.  We need to use the worst case – ten years – so work on a budget of $140M.


Can a light rail system be constructed for less than $50M (rail/signalling/unloading – engines and wagons not included as they will be covered by the operating cost in the same way the trucks are) or $1M/km?  If not why not (what are the key costs taking it over that figure) and if so how?






From: LRRSA@... [mailto:LRRSA@...]
Sent: Friday, 2 February 2018 4:48 PM
To: LRRSA@...
Subject: Re: [LRRSA] An introduction and a question




It really comes down to what sort of budget you have, but running 60klm. and then pushing all the way back isn’t a viable option., allowing for the size train you would need to haul 4000t. of ore daily.

They have several Diesel electric 3ft. gauge locos for sale in South Africa UM6B General Electric see photos here:-

They also have a couple of hundred ‘C’ class wagons which were formerly use to haul Limestone and were designed for tipple dump operation

See photos here:-

Rawbelle County Workshops
Qld. Aust.


Sent: Thursday, February 01, 2018 11:53 PM

Subject: [LRRSA] An introduction and a question




I’m a mining engineer and was taught about rail systems at uni… used them underground in a few old mines (and one new one)… was fascinated by the ABT railway on the west coast of Tasmania… and am increasingly looking at historic as well as current systems to find the most appropriate solution to a given project.  


I am currently working on a mining project in WA where we need to haul a modest amount of ore a modest distance (one and a half million tonnes per annum just under 60km of essentially flat terrain).  Naturally the standard answer to this is off highway trucks (either road trains or haul trucks) running on a dedicated haul road.


This brings me to a question on light rail; the answer to the haulage question should be “a light rail system” – specifically it should be low cost, low speed, simple (no turning – tram one way then reverse back) and efficient.  Until finding this forum I had not, however, been able to find anyone knowledgeable on this topic.  I have spoken to a couple of railway engineering companies but they can only think about traditional railways designed and engineered to last forever and costing a large fortune to construct.  Is there someone on here who can advise on a simple and inexpensive light rail system?


Rail used to be here… the foundation and ballast is still in place in many places and could potentially be utilised in the new system.


Look forward to your thoughts!!



Many thanks,


0400 848 128






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