WEST PERTH, AUSTRALIA — CBH Group announced on April 5 the first of its new locomotives has been loaded onto a ship in Savannah, Georgia, U.S. and is about to begin the voyage to Western Australia, which is expected to take about seven weeks.

Locomotive number 001 is the first of 22 new locomotives to make the journey. It is a 2,700 horsepower narrow gauge locomotive and was named by a Western Australian grower in the CBH Group’s train naming competition late last year.

The ‘Yilliminning’ will touch Western Australian soil in May and be out to work the Wheatbelt track mid-year.

CBH General Manager Operations Colin Tutt said the shipment of the first locomotive is an exciting step in the process towards CBH owning its first rail fleet.

"We can’t wait to get our locomotives out onto the track. They have state-of-the-art technology and across the fleet we’ll have more horsepower than currently. With more grunt behind our trains we can achieve faster journeys to port and faster turnaround times at sites,” he said. “The locomotives have distributed power which means they can push and pull, allowing us to operate more efficiently and be far more productive. This coupled with our new aluminum wagons will revitalize rail in Western Australia.

“We witnessed loading and discharge efficiencies that exceeded our expectations last week when we ran our first train with Watco WA Rail operating a leased locomotive to pull 50 our new wagons. We will go from strength to strength this year as each train is commissioned and growers see more tonnes moving to port more efficiently.”

The second locomotive is complete and will be shipped in the coming weeks with the remaining locomotives at various stages of manufacture but all tracking well against project schedules.