Re: An introduction and a question
Mills do build there own new lines from time to time, there are companies that would do that type of work I can’t remember at the moment there names, what you might want to consider, at the moment Mackay Sugar is converting the original 3’6” gauge line that ran from Mackay out to Marian this line was relayed with I think it was 82lb rail by Queensland Railways, Mackay Sugar was planning to have concrete sleepers made to handle that size rail, normally 2ft. gauge cane lines use second hand 60lb rail which is good for 10t. axle load, by using heavier rail it would allow you to o to 18t.-20t. axle load
In comparison looking at the cost of building 2ft. gauge line as opposed to build a weather proof gravel haul road the cost per kilometre is probably not going to be all that much different, when it comes to maintaining the haul road you would need at least 2 graders working all the tie as well as at least 2 water trucks to keep the dust down as well as to help keep the compaction at a stable level, when it comes to wet weather you may find hauling by road might have to stop or run the risk of doing considerable damage to the haul road, on the other hand a 2ft. gauge line 60klm long you could maintain it with 1 Tamper and 2-3 decent sized ballast hoppers and a small regulator.
I was thinking in hind site perhaps using bottom discharge hoppers might be a better option as this would allow a quicker unloading time and less cost in comparison to setting up a tippler operation, because you are basically running a flat ground all the wagons need not have a braking system, you could control them with the loco braking such as the dynamic braking with the UM6B’s diesel electric locos.
Rawbelle County Workshops
Sent: Saturday, February 03, 2018 12:11 AM
Subject: RE: [LRRSA] An introduction and a question
Thanks for that insight. The terrain we are dealing with is essentially flat… with a ~40m height variance between the loading end and the unloading end (in the wrong direction naturally).
Are there any new tracks planned or under construction in the cane fields or are you just using existing tracks? If new ones who is doing them?
I drive cane loco’s for a living it varies from mill to mill, most the 40t. locos as in Eimco’s or converted Walkers DH’s haul anything from 1000t. to 1500t. on average terrain, the best set-up would be push pull or having a loco at each end operated by one driver the alternate loco operating under remote radio control, that way you equalize the wheel wear factor, you will still need loops at each end more so for cutting out shop wagons should any wagon have a problem.
The comparison of road transport to rail, obviously there is probably a greater cost to build the track in the first place, but the ongoing maintenance cost is less then maintaining a road especially a gravel haul road, trucks will wear out tyres much sooner then rail wheels needing re-machining and eventual replacement.
If you base a comparison on the diesel electric loco’s I suggested those loco’s would burn around 1.5 litres of diesel per kilometre hauling 1000t. load and less on the return empty, on average terrain.
A truck by comparison hauling around 50t.to 100t. per trip might burn around 2 litre per 5klm
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?
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:-
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!!
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