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The Gisborne Photo News



A Long Haul

From former Gisborne resident and railway engine driver Bob Hepburn come these interesting pictures of one of the iron ore trains which operate in Western Australia, where Bob now lives and works. This particular train carries the ore from Mt Newman (in the central Western Australian mining region) out to Port Hedland (Port Hedland being some 350 miles south of Broome).

A loaded 144-car train, as seen from the lead loco, climbing the 1,5% grade from Hest Siding (beyond the tail end of the train) to Shaw, the summit at the halfway point, 1400 feet above sea level. One of these combinations extends to approximately 1km in length and weighs out at over 15,000 tons including locos! For most of the Journey the loaded iron ore trains travel at 57 kph (or 35mph).


In Bob Hepburn's photo Jim Ward stands beside one of the Alco 3600-800 h.p. locos which are used to haul the ore trains from Mt Newman to Port Hedland, Normally three locos are coupled in multiple to haul 144 cars. Jim's wife is the former Heather MacDougall daughter of Mr and Mrs J. F. MacDougall, 502 Childers Road.