BHP Iron Ore operated a small fleet of eight C36-7M or GE Dash 7 locomotives, all rebuilt from Australian manufactured ALCo C636 units.|
This was the first time in the world that an ALCo C636 had been rebuilt into an GE C36-7. They also received a completly new 'Pilbara' cab and were rebuilt by Goninan at their Welshpool factory in Perth, Western Australia. They were all delivered in Mount Newman Mining orange and white with the black swan emblem.
Once BHP took over Mt Newman Mining, these units were quickly repainted into the then new blue BHP livery.
Here is a status table of the locomotives involved:
**Note: Units 5506 and 5507 carried several names, in 1991 the two original names were transposed following repainting, then other changes took place. When delivered 5506 carried Mt Whaleback and 5507 carried Ethel Creek.
Then 5506 emerged in BHP livery carrying Ethel Creek, then later was changed to Mt Goldsworthy and 5640 then carried Ethel Creek. 5507 once wearing BHP livery carried Mt Whaleback, then Corunna Downs and finally Nimingarra. 5643 went onto carry Mt Whaleback while 5639 carried Corunna Downs.
These units after being proved on the mainline to Newman and Yandi were eventually displaced from the mainline as more units were rebuilt into more powerful CM40-8M locomotives to end up operating smaller consists of a single C36-7M and 75 waggons on the original Goldsworthy Mining Railway running from the Finucane Island port and unloader to the mines at both Yarrie and Nimingarra.
Of note are locos 5510, having had Dash 8 radiators fitted following collision damage in 1993 and 5511, being the first unit withdrawn following an engine failure in 1998.
The reminder of units were withdrawn from service altogether in 1999 once the eight new AC6000 units had entered service and been accepted. Goninan ended up with four of these units, possibly as a trade in for the AC6000 units and they were held onto as 'insurance' locos during the proving period of the 6000 HP AC's. The four units retained by BHP were sold for scrap, while the Goninan units went to Perth where two were overhauled and leased to Rio Tinto (Pilbara Rail).
Locomotives 5507 and 5508 where rebuilt once again in late 2002 at Goninan's in Bassendean, Perth. And were sold to Pilbara Rail (Hamersley Iron) for use at their Dampier Seven Mile operations as shunt engines and received the road numbers 5051 (Bill) and 5052 (Ben) along with the striking Pilbara Rail livery.
Photos of C36-7M model units working their last few months and then stored in the Flashbutt yard, Bing, South Hedland.
Photos of CM40-8M units displacing the C36-7M.
Images of 5509 and 5508 being stripped to allow road haulage to Perth. The fuel tanks, ploughs and engine hoods are removed outside. They are then towed into the Overhaul Shop where the engine and bogies are removed and the lifeless shell placed on a heavy haul trailer. The bogies and prime mover are placed on a road train trailer each and follow their body to Perth. When the photos were taken 5507 was being lifted onto a trailer. Now 5509 has followed. The units appear to be leaving at about one per week.
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