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A RAIL service for cattle operating out of the almost completed Morven Freight Hub could soon be underway, with rail operator Watco East West refurbishing its first rake of cattle wagons.
The 45 KOJX wagons, which started life as part of Queensland Rail's cattle train fleet more than 20 years ago, are currently being refurbished at Watco's maintenance base in Warwick.
The cattle trains will be powered by five 2170 class locomotives, which were used in Queensland before being sold to South Africa. The locomotives were brought back to Australia specifically for Watco's cattle trains.
A further 105 cattle wagons, which are currently mothballed in Townsville, will also be brought back into operation.
We want to put into action what the industry has long called for.- Chris Hood, Watco East West
Watco East West director Chris Hood said the aim was to match the efficiency of rail freight with the flexibility of road freight.
"We want to put into action what the industry has long called for: a efficient supply chain servicing northern Australia that coordinates both road train and rail operators," Mr Hood said.
"These are two freight systems that complement each other so well. Cattle will be able to be road freighted to Morven, spelled, and then put on rail."
Watco has also bought eight new US-built NRE locomotives and 128 bulk grain wagons to haul grain for GrainCorp in both southern and central Queensland.
This article first appeared on www.queenslandcountrylife.com.au
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