Heavy haul trains transport iron ore from mine to port

Mining firm awards contract for driverless trains

Ansaldo STS is to develop an automated train management system for Rio Tinto Iron Ore’s heavy-haul iron ore rail network.

The contract, worth £209 million, was awarded through Ansaldo STS Australia under a framework agreement established in 2010.

The automated heavy haul railway, to be completed in 2015, will be the first of its kind in the world and will significantly enhance the flexibility and capacity of Rio Tinto Iron Ore’s mining rail network.

The highly-specialised modular signalling solution will include the introduction of a centralised Vital Safety Server for the safe and flexible management of train movements and an on-board driving module that enables the complete automation of the trains’ operation.

The existing wayside infrastructure will be reused, and disruption to train operations will be kept to a minimum.

In addition, another contract awarded under the framework and valued at £29 million covers the completion of upgrades to Rio Tinto’s locomotive control systems so that the network can support the introduction of Electronically Controlled Pneumatic (ECP) braking.

Ansaldo STS will then complete the installation and system integration of the ECP braking on Rio Tinto’s heavy-haul rail fleet.

The introduction of ECP braking will significantly reduce delays of iron ore trains as they travel continuously from mine to port along the 1,500km remote heavy-haul rail line.

Further information:

See E&T story on Australia to have driverless iron ore trains in three years

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