The final 9 (4365 - 4373) of the last order for 18 units (4356 - 4373, 20098203-001 to 018) were unloaded off the heavy lift ship 'Jumbo Challenge' over the 2nd - 4th of September, 2010. This brings the size of the fleet to 73 locomotives.
The Jumbo Vision once again visited Port Hedland to deliver a further 9 SD70ACe units. They were unloaded over the 6th and 7th of July 2009, in the usual manner using the 128 wheel floats from Kingston Heavy Haulage. The units are: 4347 to 4355, serial being 20088019-001 to 20088019-009. The completion of this order increases the fleet size to 55 SD70ACe units.
The heavy lift ship Jumbo Vision was in Port Hedland with 13 locos from Canada, it berthed on Sunday 11th January 2009. Unloading commenced late on Monday with only one unit being unloaded. On Tuesday seven units were unloaded, of which four were observed, 4335, 4338, 4345, and 4339 (GMDX 1005) which sat overnight on the float for lifting onto rails the next day. On Wednesday 14th, the final five were unloaded, being 4340, 4344 (GMDX 2001), 4342, 4346 and 4341. All had black tarps which were removed on the wharf by one of the Jumbo Vision's 25 tonne aux. cranes.
Two cranes were used to unload the locos from the 128 wheel float, being 300 tonne and 250 tonne Liebherr units from Boom Logistics and two Mack prime movers and two 128 wheel floats from Kingston Heavy Haulage.
All thirteen units were placed at the Overhaul Workshop for fitting out by EDI. Numbers are 4334 to 4346, serial numbers being 20078915-001 to 013.
One of the 'Pumpkin' units, 4332 has been fitted out and tested as a lead unit. Modifications include, ATP and DP (Locotrol), fitting dual rails to the hand rail, remote un-coupling, fitting of BHP radios, microwave oven, AM/FM radio / CD player, toilet and wash basin, windscreen protective blinds, second snow plough, bifurcation of main air line, mods to the fuel filler, second (tropical) roof, and step covers, to name a few! See photos at right.
On the 12th of June 2008 a further 10 units arrived off the heavy lift ship DA QIANG. These units, numbered 4324 to 4333 are in a striking all over orange scheme (referred to as Pumpkins), as they were built for BNSF (an American Railroad). BHP Billiton being in desperate need of additional horsepower for the surge in exports at the time purchased them off EMD, with EMD making up the order to BNSF later on. The units have the same isolated cab, but are 'true' SD70ACe units, and not the LC variant the previous two orders were for. A number of other differences to the BHP spec units are: single hand rails, no classification lights, number boards on the cab roof, only one snow plough, different horn, single air hose, etc.
Only two cranes were used to unload the locos from the 128 wheel float, a 300 and 500 tonne Liebherr units from Boom Logistics, two prime movers and two 128 wheel floats from Kingston Heavy Haulage. The units arrived in blue tarps.
By Saturday the 14th of June 2008 all ten units had been unloaded and parked at the Overhaul Workshop for fitting out by EDI.
An order was placed with EDI (Australian agents for EMD) for 10 additional locomotives and to include an isolated cab. These units departed Canada on the 21st of December, 2006 for Port Hedland. On the 1st of April 2007 the units arrived off the heavy lift ship Jumbo Vision. By the Wednesday all had been unloaded and were at the old service shop being fitted out by EDI. They all had black tarps, the previous order had blue tarps.
Road numbers are 4314 to 4323, serial numbers are: 20058712-001 to 20058712-010, for build dates check the roster page.
On Friday the 21st of October 2005 the heavy lift ship Jumbo Vision berthed at Port Hedland with the first five of order for thirteen SD70ACe locomotives from EMD's London Ontario plant. On Saturday morning, unloading started with the first SD70ACe unit being 4311 to be delivered to Nelson Point yard. Three cranes were used to unload the locomotives, being a 200t, 160t and 100t, all supplied from Boom Logistics Port Hedland depot. By lunchtime on the Sunday all five units had been placed at the old Loco Service Shop for the EDI technicians to commence with the cab fit outs and commissioning. 4311, 4302, 4301, 4303, 4305 was the order of unloading.
On the 19th of November 2005 delivery of the final eight locos (4304, 4306, 4307, 4308, 4309, 4310, 4312 and 4313) to Nelson Point commenced off the heavy lift ship Jumbo Stellanova.
Class leader 4300 (which had been purchased for spare parts, and would be stripped upon final commissioning) arrived on the heavy lift ship BBC Frisia and was delivered to BHP Billiton Sunday 26th of February, 2006.
These units with the exception of 4300 are named after sidings on the BHP network:
Class leader and spare parts unit 4300 has now been stripped of all major components, including on-board computers, and is stored under a tarp at the rear of the Overhaul Workshop.
Roster information including serial numbers and names can be found here BHP Locomotive Roster Page.
Technical information on these locos:
Overland Models have produced several brass models in 'HO' scale (1:87) of the original and subsequent orders. They have also produced versions with the isolated cab and the BNSF 'Pumpkin' units. As well as some 'O' scale (1:32) models.
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