Wilmar Snapshot

 
  Sulla1 Chief Commissioner

Wilmar Sugar is Queensland's largest sugar miller, with eight mills spread between the Herbert and Burdekin Valleys, Proserpine and Plane Creek (Sarina). These mills are serviced by 1,600km of company owned 2ft and 3ft6 gauge networks, using 80 locomotives and 18,000 cane bins to haul 15-million tonnes of sugar cane each year.

The mills produce around 2-million tonnes of raw sugar, of which 1.25-million tonnes is railed by PN from the four Burdekin mills and Proserpine. Another 550,000-tonnes is railed on Wilmar's 2ft gauge Herbert Valley network to the Port of Lucinda. The Plane Creek Mill is Wilmar's only mill using road to transport its sugar output.

In the Burdekin, the four mills crush more than 8-million tonnes of sugar cane, with the largest, Invicta, processing up to 3.2-million tonnes. This mill's mainline to the Burdekin Valley carries more than 3-million tonnes of cane in little more than five months, and just for its day shift rosters 13 locomotives. Its receival and departure yards handle some 6,000 cane bins between them each day.

Wilmar's locomotive fleet includes 14 ex-QR DHs, with 12 on 2ft gauge; 8 ex-NSWGR 73 class on 2ft gauge; 2 ex-WAGR M class on 2ft gauge; and Mount Isa Mine's 5803, an unique GH500 model with a 73 class cab and body, now used for maintenance trains on Wilmar's 3ft6 gauge 20-tonne axle load bulk sugar branches in the Burdekin.



https://youtu.be/esWN_OhuLzM

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  Sulla1 Chief Commissioner

Wilmar was unloading new dual gauge concrete sleepers this morning in its Ayr yard at the junction for the Kalamia Branch. Most of the 8km dual gauge Wilmar branch (3ft6 and 2ft) to Kalamia has been upgraded over the last few years, with the yard in Ayr still to be done.

Until 2017 2ft gauge Kalamia locomotives hauled Aurizon molasees tankers from the junction at Ayr using dual coupling cover wagons made from steam locomotive tenders. First Aurizon and now PN include molasses containers on the bulk sugar trains and no longer shunt in the Ayr yard. Cane bins are still loaded in the 2ft gauge section of the yard.
  Big J Deputy Commissioner

Location: In Paradise
I am surprised that a RP member did not suggest that all cane railways be standardised to standard gauge. Laughing

But in relation to this thread, thankyou Sulla for your ongoing sharing of your knowledge and content, it is really appreciated to see someone so active in regional Qld.

I really enjoy seeing your new vids on Youtube (I subscribe). But more importantly your knowledge on current and up coming practices are insightful.
  Sulla1 Chief Commissioner

Thanks Big J, just trying to fly the flag for one of the most diverse rail regions in the country. It helps when I'm on the Bruce Highway most weeks seeing what's new or normal on the parallel railways Smile
  james.au Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney, NSW
I am surprised that a RP member did not suggest that all cane railways be standardised to standard gauge. Laughing
Big J
Haha this is probably a reference to me!  Tho in my defence I've never said any of the self contained networks should be standardised (eg Melbourne Metro, Perth Metro, the CQRN etc).  Just the bits that would offer incremental network improvements to the existing SG (and understanding why other lines like the Mt Isa might or might not make sense to make SG.

Anyway, great post Sulla - i knew you liked NG but this is NGx - NG extreme!  I never knew the 73s had been taken up there, that's quite a versatile frame.
  Big J Deputy Commissioner

Location: In Paradise
I am surprised that a RP member did not suggest that all cane railways be standardised to standard gauge. Laughing
Haha this is probably a reference to me!  Tho in my defence I've never said any of the self contained networks should be standardised (eg Melbourne Metro, Perth Metro, the CQRN etc).  Just the bits that would offer incremental network improvements to the existing SG (and understanding why other lines like the Mt Isa might or might not make sense to make SG.

Anyway, great post Sulla - i knew you liked NG but this is NGx - NG extreme!  I never knew the 73s had been taken up there, that's quite a versatile frame.
james.au
James you are not who I was meaning, I appreciate where you are coming from and the way it could be implemented.

It is in reference to another thread.
  Graham4405 Minister for Railways

Location: Dalby Qld
I am surprised that a RP member did not suggest that all cane railways be standardised to standard gauge. Laughing
Big J
Then there's another who hasn't yet suggested that they be regauged to BG! Laughing
  Big J Deputy Commissioner

Location: In Paradise
I am surprised that a RP member did not suggest that all cane railways be standardised to standard gauge. Laughing
Then there's another who hasn't yet suggested that they be regauged to BG! Laughing
Graham4405
This made my day:D
  Dangersdan707 Chief Commissioner

Location: On a Thing with Internet
I am surprised that a RP member did not suggest that all cane railways be standardised to standard gauge. Laughing
Then there's another who hasn't yet suggested that they be regauged to BG! Laughing
This made my day:D
Big J
You Said what Shocked

That statement its entirely correct, anyone who disagrees with my view on that matter is sprouting utter blasphemy!
  petan Chief Commissioner

Location: Waiting to see a zebra using a zebra crossing!
Wilmar was unloading new dual gauge concrete sleepers this morning in its Ayr yard at the junction for the Kalamia Branch. Most of the 8km dual gauge Wilmar branch (3ft6 and 2ft) to Kalamia has been upgraded over the last few years, with the yard in Ayr still to be done.

Until 2017 2ft gauge Kalamia locomotives hauled Aurizon molasses tankers from the junction at Ayr using dual coupling cover wagons made from steam locomotive tenders. First Aurizon and now PN include molasses containers on the bulk sugar trains and no longer shunt in the Ayr yard. Cane bins are still loaded in the 2ft gauge section of the yard.
Sulla1
So the 1067mm gauge molasses tankers with stock feed that used to end up on the Darling Downs were hauled courtesy of a match wagon based on steam loco tender. Was it a 610mm or 1067mm gauge steamer?
  james.au Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney, NSW
I am surprised that a RP member did not suggest that all cane railways be standardised to standard gauge. Laughing
Then there's another who hasn't yet suggested that they be regauged to BG! Laughing
Graham4405
I am a little impressed though that this other member has become a little more than a BG promoter and does sometimes actually have useful input.  Theyre still growing but havent remained a one harp wonder.
  Sulla1 Chief Commissioner

Replying to Petan regarding the dual coupling match wagon/tenders - Kalamia has two built from either C17 or BB181/4 frames, both are still at the mill as far as I know.

Go to 3.46 in this clip for a shot of one. The Kalamia branch and yards also feature.



https://youtu.be/Ddm_UwOuj1M
  petan Chief Commissioner

Location: Waiting to see a zebra using a zebra crossing!
Replying to Petan regarding the dual coupling match wagon/tenders - Kalamia has two built from either C17 or BB181/4 frames, both are still at the mill as far as I know.

Go to 3.46 in this clip for a shot of one. The Kalamia branch and yards also feature.



https://youtu.be/Ddm_UwOuj1M
Sulla1
Quite detailed images of that match wagon so thanks Arthur!!!  Cheers Peter
  Dangersdan707 Chief Commissioner

Location: On a Thing with Internet
I am surprised that a RP member did not suggest that all cane railways be standardised to standard gauge. Laughing
Then there's another who hasn't yet suggested that they be regauged to BG! Laughing
I am a little impressed though that this other member has become a little more than a BG promoter and does sometimes actually have useful input.  Theyre still growing but havent remained a one harp wonder.
james.au
But has anything really changed about this particular person? Do they stil Mindlessly Foam over BG? Well, indeed but nowhere near as to the extent they once did. Does this person add any meaningful or constructive to Conversations here? Always, Especially when discussing the GRAETIST ACKEMENT of humanity, the railway gauge of 5'3 and the endless arguments with Don. Especially the one and only true gauge, gifted by god to this nation, 5'3. Uphold the Holy and impure Gauge!
  62440 Chief Commissioner

Thanks for setting up this thread. It is a forgotten part of Australian Railways. I gather there is now more 2ft gauge than BG in Australia. When I first got to Australia, many years ago, I was amazed to see Nambour Mill tendering for 50km of extension railway and realising what a network they had. I have visited mills where they were trying to get a bin unloaded better than 50 seconds 24/7 for several months. They showed up their 73 class regauged from SG to 610 and their computer mapping of every train and vehicle! No long pub lunches out there! This is serious railwaying, the sugar lines carry more freight than Vic and SA combined. Until Nambour closed, the system was over a thousand miles from Mossman to Nambour. I recently travelled up to Mossman then Cairns to Brisbane by train and was amazed at what a system we still have. Maybe sugar tramways should have their own thread!
  Sulla1 Chief Commissioner

Thanks for setting up this thread. It is a forgotten part of Australian Railways. I gather there is now more 2ft gauge than BG in Australia. When I first got to Australia, many years ago, I was amazed to see Nambour Mill tendering for 50km of extension railway and realising what a network they had. I have visited mills where they were trying to get a bin unloaded better than 50 seconds 24/7 for several months. They showed up their 73 class regauged from SG to 610 and their computer mapping of every train and vehicle! No long pub lunches out there! This is serious railwaying, the sugar lines carry more freight than Vic and SA combined. Until Nambour closed, the system was over a thousand miles from Mossman to Nambour. I recently travelled up to Mossman then Cairns to Brisbane by train and was amazed at what a system we still have. Maybe sugar tramways should have their own thread!
62440

They probably should.

Broad gauge currently extends to 3,221km, while 2ft gauge is over 4,000km - and it hauls ten times the tonnage per annum than Australia's broad gauge systems. Australia's newest addition to its national rail mileage is a 36km 2ft gauge line being built by the Isis Central Mill to haul an additional 400,000-tonnes of cane - and it's being done without the fanfare and press coverage of the ARTC when it managed a thousand consultants into adding an angle to a mainline.
  Dangersdan707 Chief Commissioner

Location: On a Thing with Internet
Thanks for setting up this thread. It is a forgotten part of Australian Railways. I gather there is now more 2ft gauge than BG in Australia. When I first got to Australia, many years ago, I was amazed to see Nambour Mill tendering for 50km of extension railway and realising what a network they had. I have visited mills where they were trying to get a bin unloaded better than 50 seconds 24/7 for several months. They showed up their 73 class regauged from SG to 610 and their computer mapping of every train and vehicle! No long pub lunches out there! This is serious railwaying, the sugar lines carry more freight than Vic and SA combined. Until Nambour closed, the system was over a thousand miles from Mossman to Nambour. I recently travelled up to Mossman then Cairns to Brisbane by train and was amazed at what a system we still have. Maybe sugar tramways should have their own thread!
62440
All The more reason to convert it in one big swoop, have them join the family Razz. At that Techno-babble is unneeded, all you need is semaphores and Multi unit. All this talk of being advanced, There is simply no need. I say we revert everything to being steam hauled again and unload containers with horses and prison labor, What could go wrong?

I'm Sure that Broad Gauge Trumps this 'little gauge' for speed and passengers carried however, by a fair margin.
  Sulla1 Chief Commissioner

Wilmar's two Herbert River Mills, Victoria and Macknade have been busy building and assembling several hundred new wagons over the last three years. This includes 300 11-tonne bogie bins in 2017, plus additional orders in 2018 and 2019, while 50 new bulk sugar wagons have been built during 2019. Wilmar has been keeping most of the construction in-house, with some parts assembled by the Burdekin mills, while bogies and couplings have been supplied by Bradken's Boogan Workshops near Innisfail.

The Herbert River network includes more than 500km of 2ft gauge track, 300 cane loading sidings, 26 locomotives and more than 8,000 cane bins. The Wilmar-owned network carries around 5-million tonnes of cane and transports 550,000-tonnes of raw sugar to the Port of Lucinda each season.
  Graham4405 Minister for Railways

Location: Dalby Qld
Wilmar's two Herbert River Mills, Victoria and Macknade have been busy building and assembling several hundred new wagons over the last three years. This includes 300 11-tonne bogie bins in 2017, plus additional orders in 2018 and 2019, while 50 new bulk sugar wagons have been built during 2019. Wilmar has been keeping most of the construction in-house, with some parts assembled by the Burdekin mills, while bogies and couplings have been supplied by Bradken's Boogan Workshops near Innisfail.

The Herbert River network includes more than 500km of 2ft gauge track, 300 cane loading sidings, 26 locomotives and more than 8,000 cane bins. The Wilmar-owned network carries around 5-million tonnes of cane and transports 550,000-tonnes of raw sugar to the Port of Lucinda each season.
Sulla1
I'm guessing this keeps some staff employed during the off season. Great move.
  Big J Deputy Commissioner

Location: In Paradise
Wilmar's two Herbert River Mills, Victoria and Macknade have been busy building and assembling several hundred new wagons over the last three years. This includes 300 11-tonne bogie bins in 2017, plus additional orders in 2018 and 2019, while 50 new bulk sugar wagons have been built during 2019. Wilmar has been keeping most of the construction in-house, with some parts assembled by the Burdekin mills, while bogies and couplings have been supplied by Bradken's Boogan Workshops near Innisfail.

The Herbert River network includes more than 500km of 2ft gauge track, 300 cane loading sidings, 26 locomotives and more than 8,000 cane bins. The Wilmar-owned network carries around 5-million tonnes of cane and transports 550,000-tonnes of raw sugar to the Port of Lucinda each season.
Sulla1
Amazing, in consideration that modern practices for Australian railways is to outsource and import assets.
  Sulla1 Chief Commissioner

Wilmar's Plane Creek Mill at Sarina saw a serious head-on collision occur at the mills's yard throat yesterday. A loaded and an empty  train, each hauled by GH500s, collided, with at least one locomotive severely damaged. There were no reported injuries. Plane Creek operates some of the longest and heaviest 2ft gauge trains in the world, using distributed power to move trains of 300 or more bins.
  neillfarmer Chief Train Controller

Wilmar's Plane Creek Mill at Sarina saw a serious head-on collision occur at the mills's yard throat yesterday. A loaded and an empty  train, each hauled by GH500s, collided, with at least one locomotive severely damaged. There were no reported injuries. Plane Creek operates some of the longest and heaviest 2ft gauge trains in the world, using distributed power to move trains of 300 or more bins.
Sulla1
They are not having a good season. I believe there was a serious fire at Pioneer Mill that has resulted in cane being transferred across the Burdekin Bridge to Inkerman by road. Pioneer, being the odd gauge out with 3'-6' track, makes cane transfers difficult when that mill has problems.
  Sulla1 Chief Commissioner

Wilmar will begin installing outward facing cameras on its Burdekin locomotive fleet this year. Two locos will have cameras installed for the 2020 season, mostly to record dangerous behaviour at level crossings. Wilmar plans to have all 35 Burdekin-based locomotives fitted with cameras facing to the forward and rear by 2022 at a cost of $42,000. Wilmar's Burdekin fleet operates on 2ft and 3ft6 gauge and includes seven ex-QR DH and five ex-NSWGR 73 class locomotives.
  Sulla1 Chief Commissioner

Wilmar's Macknade Mill north of Ingham completed an order of 350 new 2ft gauge 11-tonne bogie cane bins on June 12th manufactured on site during the first half of 2020. The Townsville Bulletin is reporting Wilmar's Ingham workshops and the Macknade Mill have manufactured 1,700 new 11-tonne bins since 2015, at a cost of $18-million. The 500km Herbert River network operates more than 8,000 cane bins and 26 locomotives.
  Sulla1 Chief Commissioner

Today's action on Wilmar's mainline south from the Invicta Mill to the Burdekin Valley. More than 20,000-tonnes of sugar cane is moved over this line each day during the crushing season mostly behind former QR and NSWGR diesel hydraulics and a few of the older 0-6-0s.



https://youtu.be/bKqtLb-Ra44

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