Engineering services for a 141-kilometre heavy haul rail extension in a remote location
The Pilbara region in Western Australia is a large, dry, thinly populated area and home to some of the richest iron ore reserves in the world. Constructing in this region is challenging, not only because of the climate and its remote location—but also because of its indigenous heritage and unique flora and fauna.
Our team worked to extend Fortescue’s rail network to the Western Hub, making iron ore reserves accessible at their Eliwana mine. Forming part of an integrated client team, we took the project from its pre-feasibility stage to the construction and commissioning of the heavy haul railway.
The project consisted of 141-kilometers of the mainline railway, two full-length sidings, and a smaller siding designed for bankers. The railway alignment was challenging because it needed to cross the Hamersley Range, pass near sensitive heritage and environmental areas, and negotiate a path through the operations of other mining companies in the area. The railway line included two bridges that crossed over Rio Tinto’s mainline railway and a large six-span bridge, crossing a service corridor.
There were other challenges to overcome during the construction phase; the area experienced a cyclonic rainfall event, affecting the supply of construction water needed—a typical problem for a remote location. Despite interface issues, challenges, and obstacles along the way, we were able to complete the project on time and under budget.
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