BHP Iron Ore run a motive power roster of 182 EMD and Progress Rail built SD70ACe locomotives with a large number of /LC and /LCi
variants of which a full breakdown with names and serials can be found on the BHP Power Roster page.
The fifteenth order #860 follows a four and half year hiatus between new locomotives deliveries for BHP. The order was for a further six SD70ACe/LCi units numbered 4492 to 4497 with serial numbers: 20198860-001 to 006 and again built by Progress Rail at Muncie USA.
They were unloaded from the heavy lift ship BBC Sapphire on Tuesday 18th August 2020 and stored at the Pilbara Ports Authority pending delivery to BHP Nelson Point. They were delivered at the rate of two per day by Mammoet using SPMT or Self-Propelled Modular Transporters from Saturday the 22nd August to Monday 24th August. The locomotives are in the new corporate all orange livery (conceived by Big Red) with large BHP motifs on the sides and ends.
The fourteenth order #085 was for four SD70ACe/LCi units numbered 4488 to 4491 with serial numbers: 20158085-001 to 004 and built by Progress Rail at Muncie USA. Locomotives 4488 and 4489 were delivered off the Jumbo Shipping heavy left vessel MV Fairlane to site on the 18th January 2016, and 4490 and 4491 were delivered on the 19th January 2016. These locomotives are the first to actually carry the model SD70ACe/Lci on the builders' decal.
Following this delivery, the remaining CM40-8M units were transported off site for scrapping.
The thirteenth order #001 was for twenty SD70ACe/LCi locomotives numbered 4468 to 4487 with serial numbers: 20148001-001 to 020 built by Progress Rail at Muncie USA and they were delivered to Port Hedland in two batches of ten locomotives.
The first batch of ten were delivered to Nelson Point off the heavy left vessel Happy Dover from the 7th April 2015 when locomotives 4468 to 4477 were delivered.
The second batch of ten locomotives 4478 to 4487 were delivered to site from the 4th May 2015. Following this second batch being delivered eleven CM40-8M locomotives were transported to Sims Metal for scrapping.
The twelfth order #907 was for eighteen SD70ACe/LCi locomotives numbered 4450 to 4467 with serial numbers: 20138907-001 to 018 and built by Progress Rail at Muncie USA. This order was delivered in two batches of nine locomotives each. This order also saw the hinged top rail no longer fitted.
The first batch of nine locomotives 4450 to 4458 were delivered from Saturday 6th December 2014 on 120-wheel floats from Doolan's Transport.
The second batch of nine 4459 to 4467 were delivered off the heavy left vessel Tramper on the Wednesday 7th and Thursday 8th January 2015. Following this delivery, the original SD70ACe order of thirteen locomotives (4301 - 4313) were then transported to the port and sent back to the USA as trade-ins to Progress Rail onboard this vessel. Again, all transported by 120-wheel floats from Doolan's Transport.
The eleventh order #866 was for eighteen SD70ACe/LCi locomotives numbered 4432 to 4449 with serial numbers: 20128866-001 to 018 and built by Progress Rail at Muncie USA. This order was the first of the port hole window in the nose door.
Six locomotives 4432 to 4437 were delivered off the heavy lift vessel MV Palanpur via Doolan's Transport and 104-wheel floats on the 26th and 27th January 2014.
The final twelve locomotives 4438 to 4449 were delivered off the heavy left ship Happy Diamond via Doolan's Transport and a 104-wheel float on the Friday 21st February to Sunday 23rd February 2014.
The tenth order #809 was for seventeen SD70ACe/LCi locomotives numbered 4415 to 4431 with serial numbers: 20128809-001 to 017 and built by Progress Rail at Muncie USA.
The ninth order #865 was for twelve SD70ACe/LCi locomotives numbered 4403 to 4414 with serial numbers 20118685-001 to 012 and built by Progress Rail at Muncie USA.
The eighth order #575 was for twelve SD70ACe/LCi locomotives numbered 4391 to 4402 with serial numbers 20118575-001 to 012 and built by Progress Rail at Muncie USA. This order started featuring modified hand rails with a hinged top rail to maintain handrail height when the step fill plate is lowered at each end.
The seventh order #424 was for seventeen SD70ACe locomotives numbered from 4374 to 4390 with serial numbers: 20108424-001 to 017 and built by Progress Rail at Muncie USA. This order was the first order delivered without any ladder stirrups on either end.
The sixth order #203 was for a total of eighteen SD70ACe locomotives numbered 4356 to 4373 with serial numbers: 20098203-001 to 018 and was the final order to be built by Electro-Motive in London Ontario Canada and delivered in two batches, it was also the final order delivered with ladder stirrups on each end of the locomotives, but the first delivery to have walkway kick plates.
The final nine (4365 - 4373) of this order were delivered to Nelson Point off the heavy lift ship Jumbo Challenger over the 2nd - 4th of September 2010. This brings the size of the SD70ACe and variants fleet to 73 locomotives.
The fifth order #019 was for nine SD70ACe locomotives built by Electro-Motive in London Ontario Canada and were delivered off the Jumbo Vision which once again visited Port Hedland to deliver the nine locomotives. 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 numbered: 4347 to 4355 with serial numbers: 20088019-001 to 009. The completion of this order increased the fleet size to 55 SD70ACe variants.
The fourth order #915 was for thirteen locomotives, again being the SD70ACe/LC model and built by Electro-Motive in London Ontario Canada. The heavy lift ship Jumbo Vision berthed on Sunday 11th January 2009 with unloading commencing late on Monday 12th January with only one unit being unloaded. On Tuesday 13th January seven units were unloaded of which four were observed being 4335, 4338, 4345, and 4339 (GMDX 1005) which sat overnight on the road float for lifting onto rails the next day. On Wednesday 14th January the final five were unloaded being 4340, 4344 (GMDX 2001), 4342, 4346 and 4341. All had black tarps which were removed while on the Port Authority wharf by one of the Jumbo Visions' auxiliary 25 tonne cranes.
Two cranes of 300 and 250 tonne capacity Liebherr units from Boom Logistics were used to transfer the locomotives to rail from the 128-wheel floats each pulled by a Mack prime mover from Kingston Heavy Haulage.
All thirteen units were placed at the Overhaul Workshop for fitting out by EDI. Road numbers are 4334 to 4346 with serial numbers being 20078915-001 to 013.
The third order #862 for ten locomotives came about as BHP Billiton was experiencing a dramatic increase in demand for iron ore and thus another horsepower shortage so BHP purchased units already under construction for BNSF (an American Railroad) off the EMD production line with EMD to build the extra units for BNSF to replace the diverted orders.
On the 12th of June 2008 the ten locomotives were delivered off the heavy lift ship Xin Da Qiang. The locomotives numbered 4324 to 4333 and wearing a striking all over orange livery which is the basis of the BNSF livery and saw them later referred to as the 'Pumpkins'. The units have the same isolated or Whisper cab but are US domestic SD70ACe units and not the /LC variant that BHP had previously ordered in the previous two orders.
A number of other differences to the standard BHP specifications are: single rung hand rails, no classification or marker lights, number boards on the cab roof, only one snow plough, different horn, single air hose, lack of tropical roof to name a few.
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.
Towards the end of 2008 one of the 'Pumpkin' units, 4332, was modified, fitted out and then tested as a lead unit prior to the other nine being likewise treated. Modifications include, ATP and DP (Locotrol), fitting dual rails and kick plate to the hand rails, remote un-coupling feature, 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 some. See photos at right.
A second order was placed with EDI (Australian agents for EMD) for ten additional SD70ACe/LC locomotives bit this time to include the isolated (or Whisper) cab, these units also started featuring a square formed middle rail on the hand rails. These units departed Canada on the 21st of December 2006 for Port Hedland. On the 1st of April 2007 the locomotives were delivered 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 were all enclosed with black tarps while previous deliveries had blue tarps.
Road numbers are 4314 to 4323 with serial numbers: 20058712-001 to 010.
Original first order #540 was for thirteen locomotives and one spare parts source.
On Friday the 21st of October 2005 the heavy lift ship Jumbo Vision berthed at Port Hedland with the first five of the order of SD70ACe/LC locomotives from EMD's London Ontario (Canada) plant. On Saturday 22nd October unloading commenced with the first SD70ACe/LC unit 4311 being delivered to the hard stand area within BHP's Nelson Point yard. Three cranes were used to unload the locomotives, being of 200, 160 and 100 tonnes capacity all supplied by Boom Logistics Port Hedland.
By lunchtime on Sunday 23rd October all five locomotives had been unloaded and placed at the old Loco Service Shop for EDI to commence with the cab fit outs and commissioning. The units were unloaded and delivered to site in the order of 4311, 4302, 4301, 4303, 4305.
On the 19th of November 2005 delivery of the final eight locomotives (4304, 4306, 4307, 4308, 4309, 4310, 4312 and 4313) to Nelson Point commenced off the heavy lift ship Jumbo Stellanova.
The SD70ACe/LC class leader 4300 did not arrive in Port Hedland until February 2006 and was delivered off the heavy lift ship BBC Frisia to site on Sunday 26th of February 2006. This locomotive was purchased complete as a spare parts source and would be stripped upon final commissioning.
These locomotives with the exception of 4300 are named after sidings on the BHP network:
4301 - Bing, 4302 - Mooka, 4303 - Walla, 4304 - Gillam, 4305 - Coonarie, 4306 - Garden, 4307 - Shaw, 4308 - Cowra, 4309 - Gidgi, 4310 - Weeli, 4311 - Poonda, 4312 - Mindy, 4313 - Kurrajura.
All these locations are on the Hedland to Newman line with the exception of Kurrajura which is located on the Yandi line.
Class leader and spare parts unit 4300 was stripped of all major components, including on-board computers, and was stored under a tarp at the rear of the Overhaul Workshop for some years before being sent for scrapping on the 25th January 2016.
Roster information including serial numbers and names can be found here BHP Power Roster.
Technical information on these locos:
|Manufacturer||EMD Canada and Progress Rail Muncie|
|Length||74.24ft / 22.63m|
|Height||15.71ft / 4.790m|
|Engine||EMD 16-710G3C-T0 or EMD 16-710G3C-T2|
|Traction motors||EMD A3432|
|Power||3210 kW / 4300 HP|
|Tractive effort||Starting: 820 kN|
|Continuous: 690 kN @ 19.2kph|
|Maximum Speed||113 km/h|
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.
Click on for larger image.