WEST PERTH, AUSTRALIA — The CBH Group announced on April 10 that it has contracted U.S.-based MotivePower, a subsidiary of Wabtec Corp., to build its new locomotive fleet.

CBH Operations General Manager Colin Tutt said that commissioning the construction of the locomotives is another step towards a sustainable future for rail in Western Australia.

"The tender process was very competitive with six companies from around the world bidding for the construction task. We are confident that MotivePower's expertise and experience in building locomotives for freight rail will deliver WA growers the best outcome," he said. "MotivePower's engines were the best option for the task of moving grain on Western Australian rail lines as well as having good fuel economy, meeting US Tier 2 emissions standards.

"The locomotives will provide better operational and environmental efficiencies and ultimately greater productivity, as well as being much safer than the existing fleet.

"Having new equipment with more horsepower will enable us to optimize train lengths and journey times, and transport more grain to port by rail."

Wabtec's President and Chief Executive Officer Albert J. Neupaver said that this project will meet CBH's need for more-efficient locomotives and will position Wabtec for similar opportunities in Australia in the future.

"Wabtec has had a manufacturing and sales presence in Australia for 20 years, and we continue to expand our operations in this important rail market," he said.

The CBH Group has placed an order for 22 locomotives, with the first of them to be delivered in March 2012, in time for driver training and accreditation to be finalized.

"Although the timeframes for the construction and operations of rolling stock is tight, the project is progressing to schedule and under budget," said Tutt.

From May 2012, CBH's 10-year agreement with Watco Companies will commence, with Watco providing comprehensive rail logistics services operating CBH Group's rolling stock.