One Train Takes 50 B-Doubles Off the Road: Freight Train, Freight Train

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Diesel locomotive G524 — which pulls a giant train taking Victoria’s grain to the docks — also has a fridge, red and green flags in case of an incident and a chunky black ”bat-phone” to ensure the train driver can stay in contact with train control at all times…

Tonight it’s travelling from Piangil near Swan Hill in the state’s north-west to Appleton Dock at the Port of Melbourne. From there the grain, grown mostly in the wide Mallee fields, will go to New Zealand…

With the morning sky turning pink and blue, the flick of a red lever saw the first grain of the 2200 tonne load shoot out of a chute and into the wagon below. Grain loading requires both skill and eye protection – chaff billows out while the grain rushes down. Hunt had inched the train forward and then stopped to help ensure the grain was evenly spread. With 40 wagons to fill, it was a move repeated many times…

”Approximately 60 per cent of the grain from this site goes by rail and this year we’ve loaded 13 trains so far,” he said. ”And we’re anticipating there’ll be another half-a-dozen or so for the remainder of the year.This is the third train we’ve had since last Saturday.”

With the morning sky turning pink and blue, the flick of a red lever saw the first grain of the 2200 tonne load shoot out of a chute and into the wagon below. Grain loading requires both skill and eye protection – chaff billows out while the grain rushes down. Hunt had inched the train forward and then stopped to help ensure the grain was evenly spread. With 40 wagons to fill, it was a move repeated many times.

If not for the mega-trains, many more trucks would be on the road. A quick calculation suggests that the 2200 tonnes of grain is enough to fill about 50 B-double trucks.

Darren Gray, The Age, June 28, 2013

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