John Holland positions final piece of Fortescue railway

Image: John Holland

John Holland has laid the final piece of a 143-kilometre heavy haul rail track for Fortescue Metals Group’s Eliwana mine and rail project in Western Australia.

The company’s $130 million contract with Fortescue also involves delivering an extension to the existing signalling and train control systems and an upgrade to the the traffic capacity to communication infrastructure.

This will eventually see the Eliwana iron ore project connected to Fortescue’s Hammersley railway line.

Remaining works by John Holland include destressing 130 kilometres of the track, siding extension works and final grinding.

Final ballasting and tamping work for around 60 kilometres of the track is also on schedule, with all remaining track works due for completion by June.

John Holland rail delivery manager John Ma said the project progressed despite weather and access challenges throughout the course of construction.

“The safe unloading of the last long weld rail off the final rail train on the Eliwana project was a significant moment for us,” he said.

“It’s a huge undertaking – more than 240,000 sleepers were laid as well as 400,000 tonnes of ballast dropped with more than 12,000 welds joining the tracks together.

“Working in a remote and often volatile environment has its challenges, but I am proud that the team were able to demonstrate our capability to manage complex logistics and high-production welding facilities while enabling efficient project delivery.”

John Holland is due to complete signalling construction in August, before finally testing and integrating the track in December.

“It’s no secret that the mining and construction industry is playing a big role in boosting Western Australia’s economy and we are pleased to partner with Fortescue to deliver this world-class iron ore project,” Ma said.

Fortescue delivered first ore at Eliwana in December last year. The 30 million tonnes a year mine is 90 kilometres west of Tom Price.

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