Tipping ore cars in the Pilbara

 
  freightgate Minister for Railways

Location: Albury, New South Wales
Icing trains from tin price and other mines in the Pilbara requires a large number of ore cars and a lot of unloading.

Unload as I understand is. Is tippers where the ore cars in groups of two are rotated tipping the ore into the unloader.

This is done without uncoupling the ore cars.

Silly question.

How is this achieved ? Are there special couplers ?

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  M636C Minister for Railways


How is this achieved ? Are there special couplers ?
freightgate
Yes.

Rio Tinto use cars in pairs with a bar coupler between the pair.

At one end of the pair, usually clearly marked, is a rotary coupler. This is a normal knuckle with a cylindrical shaft that can rotate without restraint. Care has to be taken when the rotary coupler is uncoupled that it is in the right position to couple, since it can rotate in either direction.

The brake pipes are the main concern when the cars are rotated, since unlike the coupler, they will only allow limited rotation.

Generally, cars are rotated through less than 180 (edit) degrees.

While Fortescue and now Roy Hill also use cars in pairs, BHP Billiton use single cars.

While most BHP Billiton dumpers also dump pairs of cars, Car Dumper 2 at Nelson Point can dump three cars at once (or, in fact, any one of three cars, since the three cradles are able to rotate independently.

Does this answer the question?

M636C
  Sulla1 Chief Commissioner

Rotary tipplers are also used extensively in the Townsville area too...the Queensland Nickel Yabulu refinery uses a rotary tippler to dump nickel ore and coal. The BHP-Billiton rotary tippler at the Townsville Port dumps lead and zinc concentrate from Cannington and the Sun Metals refinery has a rotary tippler to dump zinc concentrate too. All of these tipplers use Aurizon's G series gondolas - all fitted with rotary couplings. Glencore's old MIM side tippler dumps zinc and copper concentrate from Mt Isa but requires every wagon to be uncoupled to unload (the wagons are lifted to one side instead of spun) as a result PN's ROAF concentrate wagons don't have rotary couplings.
  freightgate Minister for Railways

Location: Albury, New South Wales
How does the uncoupling process work please ?

Thanks for the deception above. What I have learnt is the cars are not rotated 360 degrees.
  8077 Chief Train Controller

Location: Crossing the Rubicon
Rotary tipplers are also used extensively in the Townsville area too...the Queensland Nickel Yabulu refinery uses a rotary tippler to dump nickel ore and coal. The BHP-Billiton rotary tippler at the Townsville Port dumps lead and zinc concentrate from Cannington and the Sun Metals refinery has a rotary tippler to dump zinc concentrate too. All of these tipplers use Aurizon's G series gondolas - all fitted with rotary couplings. Glencore's old MIM side tippler dumps zinc and copper concentrate from Mt Isa but requires every wagon to be uncoupled to unload (the wagons are lifted to one side instead of spun) as a result PN's ROAF concentrate wagons don't have rotary couplings.
Sulla1

That explains a lot about how things are done outside of the Pilbara. Thank You.

I personalty was not aware this tippling method was used outside of Western Australia.  Incidentally the First rail line to Port Headland or Karratha I think with the port facilities only took 16 months to complete with all the infrastructure work to give birth to the Australia Iron Ore industry.  The people who built this would be horrified to see what Australia can't seem to achieve now in this day and age.

Are there other areas or ports in Australia which use tipplers and do the bulk wagons need to be specially built?
  Sulla1 Chief Commissioner

With rotaries trains don't have to be uncoupled at all, in the Townsville case the locomotives pull the train into the rotary tippler, where an indexer arm then positions the first wagon, and every wagon after until unloading is finished. Everything, including the crewed locomotive staying coupled together, air hoses included, ready to leave. The MIM side tippler has a loco push a rake one at a time into the tippler, once on the tippler the wagon is uncoupled, tipped, re-coupled, pushed out and the process repeated for the next wagon.
  freightgate Minister for Railways

Location: Albury, New South Wales
Thanks to all who provided feedback and information. If I wanted some video sources does anyone have a favourite ?
  Pressman Spirit of the Vine

Location: Wherever the Tin Chook or Qantas takes me
That explains a lot about how things are done outside of the Pilbara. Thank You.

I personalty was not aware this tippling method was used outside of Western Australia.  

Are there other areas or ports in Australia which use tipplers and do the bulk wagons need to be specially built?
8077
Leigh Creek to Port Augusta coal trains used to use a Rotary Dumper which dated back to when the line was rebuilt to SG (Back in the SAR days)
Coal wagons used rotary coupling at one end only.

This all changed when PN won the contract and used bottom discharge hoppers bought over from the Hunter. The Rotary tipper was modified to allow bottom discharge.
  freightgate Minister for Railways

Location: Albury, New South Wales
Was the rotary tipper around in the narrow gauge days and can you advise the date of standardisation please ?
  Sulla1 Chief Commissioner

Here's a rotary tippler in action in Columbia...not a good view of the couplings, but you can see the wagons stay coupled throughout the process...



http://youtu.be/DbJl_Astx_w
  lkernan Deputy Commissioner

Location: Melbourne
The Emu Bay railway (Now part of Tasrail) in Tasmania also uses a rotary tippler.  It's located in Burnie yard but isn't obvious as it's installed inside a large shed.
  Nightfire Minister for Railways

Location: Gippsland
The former Newport Power Station and Heinz tomato factory at Dandenong had tippers for GY briquette wagons, they were tilting arm type, not rotatory (I think)
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
Yes.

Rio Tinto use cars in pairs with a bar coupler between the pair.

At one end of the pair, usually clearly marked, is a rotary coupler. This is a normal knuckle with a cylindrical shaft that can rotate without restraint. Care has to be taken when the rotary coupler is uncoupled that it is in the right position to couple, since it can rotate in either direction.

The brake pipes are the main concern when the cars are rotated, since unlike the coupler, they will only allow limited rotation.

Generally, cars are rotated through less than 90 degrees.

While Fortescue and now Roy Hill also use cars in pairs, BHP Billiton use single cars.

While most BHP Billiton dumpers also dump pairs of cars, Car Dumper 2 at Nelson Point can dump three cars at once (or, in fact, any one of three cars, since the three cradles are able to rotate independently.

Does this answer the question?

M636C
M636C
Is the 90 degrees a typo perhaps? All the dumpers that I have seen rotate to something a bit less than 180 degrees but certainly more than 90 degrees?
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
Here's a rotary tippler in action in Columbia...not a good view of the couplings, but you can see the wagons stay coupled throughout the process...



http://youtu.be/DbJl_Astx_w
Sulla1

Interesting discussion.  A video of the loading process for coal.



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bN2i-iMX7ao
  Nightfire Minister for Railways

Location: Gippsland
Is the 90 degrees a typo perhaps? All the dumpers that I have seen rotate to something a bit less than 180 degrees but certainly more than 90 degrees?
YM-Mundrabilla
At 90 degrees rotation, you would be lucky to tip any more than half the ore out of the wagon.

You would need 135 degrees at least.
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
The operation of the coal loadout would be one of the jobs requiring the greatest concentration given the endless procession of identical wagons passing one's window. It also has the potential to maximise or minimise transport throughput.Whilst the wagons in the video that Bevans has posted are well loaded at the leading end there is a large void at the trailing end which is lost capacity that can never be recovered. It will also lead to unevenly loaded wagons.

One cannot afford to lose concentration for a second as this will lead to an empty or eccentrically loaded wagon of a load of coal dumped on the shearplates at the end of some wagons all of these are to be avoided.

In the video posted by Sulla 1 also note the amount of coal hangup in the wagons after they have been emptied. This is also lost production and is one reason why such care and detail goes into the design of coal and ore wagons.
  alfclp Train Controller

THe rotary dumper at Port Augusta was not modified, it was removed completely. Trains now creep through the dumper shed using bottom dump wagons.
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
THe rotary dumper at Port Augusta was not modified, it was removed completely. Trains now creep through the dumper shed using bottom dump wagons.
alfclp

Which is the better option?  Bottom Dump or Tippler?
  M636C Minister for Railways

At 90 degrees rotation, you would be lucky to tip any more than half the ore out of the wagon.

You would need 135 degrees at least.
Nightfire
I did indeed mean 180 degrees.

I was trying to do too many different things at the one time when posting.
I would have said more than 135 degrees, too but that may vary.

A lot of early cars had angled sides that would help unloading but later cars have offset upper sides that would have the reverse effect.

M636C
  Nightfire Minister for Railways

Location: Gippsland
Which is the better option?  Bottom Dump or Tippler?
bevans
A wagon that gets tipped up side down, can built more stronger and robust than a bottom dump wagon that needs moving doors, that pose an ongoing maintenance/repair Issue.
  M636C Minister for Railways

Which is the better option?  Bottom Dump or Tippler?
bevans

Six of one and half a dozen of the other...

QR used bottom dump (or hopper as they are better known) wagons on the Blackwater and Moura lines but adopted a rotary dumper at Hay Point.

Some of the early QR aluminium hoppers ripped apart under load, generally due to design and manufacturing errors, meanwhile it was hard to keep up with the draft gear failures on the Hay Point gondolas.

QR now only uses hopper wagons for coal traffic.

A hopper door failure at the wrong time can tie up the line, but unless the coupler pulls out a failed draft gear it can be fixed in the workshops.

The draft gear failures are due to the really serious loads put on the train by the car indexer at the rotary dumper, and a failure of either the indexer or the dumper itself will stop unloading. But for hopper cars, you don't need to stop, just run slowly and the infrastructure is just a hole in the ground between the rails.

Of course, if the stockpile conveyer belts fail or need maintenance, either type of train stops.


The Pilbara iron ore operators are happy with rotary dumpers but virtually all export coal is carried in hoppers.

I've seen contractors vacuuming up spilt coal chips that have found their way into ballast at major junctions around Gladstone.
There are no similar problems in the Pilbara.

For a really big operation I think rotary dumpers would be cheaper, like BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto, but I'd want at least two dumpers at every port. BHPB have four, three at Nelson Point and one on Finucane Island.

If I was starting out and not sure how long the mine would run, I'd use hopper cars.

I think Newcastle is the biggest coal export port and that has always used hopper wagons, although there was a rotary dumper for four wheel UT wagons on Kooragang Island when it was first opened (early 1970s?). They were more trouble than they were worth, since the oil leaked out of the conventional axleboxes when the wagons were inverted.

M636C
  M636C Minister for Railways

The former Newport Power Station and Heinz tomato factory at Dandenong had tippers for GY briquette wagons, they were tilting arm type, not rotatory (I think)
Nightfire
I took some photos at Newport Power Station in 1963 or 1964 after crossing over on the ferry.

I think the wagons were variants of the standard I wagon, not as big as a GY, although they might have been used as well.

The code IT comes to mind, and I think some of these had been rebodied without side doors.

M636C
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
Gondolas (opens) are simpler to build and therefor cheaper, stronger and less maintenance intensive. They also generally occupy less train length for a given volume and are usually lighter. You don't get much better than the Pilbara BHP, Rio and Fortescue for efficient operation/throughput. They do, on the other hand, need dumpers which are expensive.

Hoppers are more complex of design and usually less robust structurally, the doors always leak (to a greater of lesser degree). The extra volume in the door wells is offset by the volume wasted behind the slope sheets needed to ensure efficient emptying. They are usually longer and heavier for a given volume than opens but unloading pits are probably cheaper than dumpers. Hangup in the multitude of 'corners' in hoppers may be more likely. Hoppers often need shaking to aid emptying.

The use of hoppers v opens in Australia seems to be largely an accident of history where their current use in NSW, Qld and WA (other than the Pilbara) has followed government railway practice that commenced donkeys years before tipplers were available or certainly as efficient as they are now especially with the inclusion of rotary couplers. The Pilbara was a greenfields operation and could therefore go with the best technology available.

Whether anyone carrying coal now would go for tippler operation if they had the chance I don't know? CR and VR had primitive tipplers a long time ago and whilst the Victorian coal traffic has ceased the former CR operation has been converted to hoppers for whatever reason and for better or worse. As far as I know CR was happy with their tippler, especially as they had no hoppers anyway.
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
I took some photos at Newport Power Station in 1963 or 1964 after crossing over on the ferry.

I think the wagons were variants of the standard I wagon, not as big as a GY, although they might have been used as well.

The code IT comes to mind, and I think some of these had been rebodied without side doors.

M636C
M636C
I, too, thought that the VR coal wagons were a rag bag lot of I wagons of one sort or another. I agree that many (at least) were crudely modified without side doors although some at least needed doors to allow unloading at suburban locations using a tractor mounted scraper affair (?). There was nothing much cruder than a VR I wagon! The GYs were restricted to grain in those days I thought.

I also have a recollection of some coal wagons having different heights of sides but it is all a long time ago.

I thought that the IT wagons were I trucks with a high hungry board on one end for timber traffic from Orbost but I may well be mistaken in this regard. It is all a long time ago now so I am open to correction on everything that I have said but if anyone has any detailed information on the Newport Power Station and the Heinz tipplers and their operation I would be very interested.

How was the coal from Bacchus Marsh unloaded at Fairfield, please?
  Nightfire Minister for Railways

Location: Gippsland
A pool of GY wagons were last used for the Dandenong briquette traffic.
The last use of these wagons by V/Line.

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