BHP Billiton ran a fleet of 40 GE Dash 8 locomotives up till July 2015 when all remaining in-service units were stored.
Six units were built new, four of which were built as model CM39-8 no's 5630 to 5633 in 1988 by Goninan WA, and a further two model CM40-8 no's 5646-5647 (ordered by Goldsworthy Mining)
built in 1992 by Goninan WA, while the remaining 34 members are all CM40-8M and are the result of Goninan WA rebuilding the original Mount Newman Mining AE Goodwin built Alco C636 and M636 locomotives
between 1991 and 1995.
The CM39-8 units, no's 5630 to 5633 were named after Greek Gods, while the rest of the fleet were named after Pilbara locations or ports to where iron ore is shipped.
For a full name listing, rebuild data and serial no's check out the BHP Billiton Locomotive Roster Page.
There are a number of differences between units, different fuel tank shapes / styles, bogies, horns, cab marker lights, etc. to name some.
Some of these differences, and the models have been covered in detail in Australian Model Railway Magazine, AMRM Issue 208, February 1998 and AMRM Issue 212, October 1998.
Three units were built cab-less in 1994 and designated model CM40-8ML and numbered 5663,
5665, and another view of
Instead of a cab, they had a cabinet where the Locotrol equipment was installed. These 3 units ended up having cabs retrofitted to increase suitability and
operation as the Locotrol components reduced in size. The Locotrol cabinet off 5663 is down at the Pilbara Railway Historical Society's yard at Dampier.
BHP Billiton commissioned a new paint scheme which includes the new corporate logo and was designed by Steve Malpass Design, and is a mix of charcoal grey, silver and terracotta brown.
Dash 8 loco 5632 was the first unit to receive the new livery and received black number decals, 5639 was next painted along with black numbers. By the time
5630 was painted the numbers were being applied as white, 5632 subsequently received white numerals, but 5639 did not. Only 5639 and 5650 survived with black numerals.
In the end 16 Dash 8 units were repainted into the bubble or 'Earth' livery.
In May 2015 as the Dash 8 fleet was aging and also becoming less utilised as the EMD SD70ACe fleet was being constantly increased the first round of scrapping of these iconic locomotives started.
Sims Metal in Wedgefield (industrial suburb of Port Hedland) took delivery of eleven Dash 8 units to be cut up for scrap.
Numbers included 5635, 5638, 5640, 5645, 5646, 5647, 5649, 5656, 5657, 5659 and 5663.
Some images of this can be found here on pages 3 and 4.
Further and final scrapping of the remaining units commenced immediately after the delivery of the final four SD70ACe units 4488 to 4491 on the 19th of January 2016.
The scrapping was split across Sims Metal and Sell & Parker with both companies getting an even split of locomotives each, the breakdown of units being:
Sims Metal, 5632, 5633, 5636, 5641, 5642, 5648, 5653, 5654, 5655, 5660, 5661, 5664, 5668 and 5669.
Sell & Parker, 5631, 5634, 5637, 5639, 5643, 5644, 5650, 5651, 5652, 5658, 5665, 5666 and 5667.
Click on for larger image.|