Iron Ore Trains
The iron ore from Mt Whaleback is transported to Port Hedland on iron ore trains that have made it in the Guinness Book of Records as the longest and heaviest trains in the world.
The record breaking train weighed in at 99,734 tons and was 7.3 kilometres long. Carrying 682 wagons and transporting 82,000 tons of iron ore, the train is impressively controlled by just the one driver. Neville was lucky enough to ride in the front of one of the trains.
Every year, BHP Billiton transports about 60 million tonnes of iron ore from six mine sites in the Pilbara along the world’s largest privately owned railway (426 kilometers in length). The railway system has been recognized as a bench-mark railway system. Nine trains transport the ore in constant circulation, with each train hauling about 25,000 tonnes per trip to Port Hedland. Each train is organized into clusters of 112 ore cars called rakes and each has its own locomotive.
After the ore is crushed at the mine-site, the ore is fed into live stacks. The trains go under a tunnel and thirteen ore cars can be loaded at one time through a series of gravity fed chutes. The trains already transport an enormous amount of iron ore but the amazing thing is that the current level of production and shipping is due to more than double over the next three years in an effort to keep pace with increasing demand particularly from Asia.
The trains pass through some of the most majestic scenery as it weaves its way to Port Hedland. At Port Hedland, dumper cars tip the ore trucks upside down to unload the ore, which is then loaded onto ships and exported across the globe.
Newman Visitor Centre
Corner Fortescue Avenue and Newman Drive, Newman WA
Postal address: PO Box 303, Newman WA 6753
Phone: +61 8 9175 2888
Fax: +61 8 9175 2964
Port Hedland Visitor Centre
Address: 13 Wedge Street, Port Hedland WA
Postal address: PO Box 664, Port Hedland WA 6721
Phone: +61 8 9173 2632
Fax: +61 8 9173 2632