Information published on 8 October 2010 in the UIC electronic newsletter "UIC eNews" Nr 204.

Annual Board Meeting of the International Heavy Haul Association (IHHA) in Johannesburg

  • Freight

Transnet hosted the annual board meeting of the IHHA in Johannesburg 16-18 August. Oliver Sellnick, Director Freight UIC, participated on behalf of UIC.

Member railways run trains of at least 5.000 tonnes gross mass and operate with at least 25 t axle load. Members include

  • a number of the largest mining companies around the world like BHP, Rio Tinto, FMG Fortescue (all three Australia), VALE (Brazil), LKAB (Kiruna),
  • railways like Indian Railways, Queensland Rail and Transnet (South Africa),
  • railway associations like AAR/TTCI, the RAC (Canada),
  • research institutions around the world.

During a workshop with the management of Transnet members of the IHHA board discussed highlights from their companies:

  • FMG Fortescue started a brand new railway in Northwest Australia in 2008. They reported how they 40 to axle load in only two years. With only 130 staff they move already 40 mill t p.a. Expansion plans might lead to 155 mill t in 2015. Today, they can already carry 32.000 t in one train of 240 wagons with a length of 2.7 km.
  • LKAB (Kiruna mining) will relocate most of their rail infrastructure around Kiruna because of ground deformation. The concept of modern underground silos (SILA) will lead to fewer handling steps and dust, hence improved quality of the iron ore and less environmental impact.
  • VALE operates 10,000 km tracks, 1.000 locos, 44.000 wagons. They have achieved 37.5 t axle load and can transport up to 330 wagons per train.
  • RAC reported about a large degree of standardization in Canada with 33 t axle load, 5.550 t per train. At the boarder to the US all trains are screaned 100% for security purposes! Priorities of members: higher yield with quality products, longer trains with flexible modules, lean yard operations, weather proven operations, replacing labour with technology.
  • AAR/TTCI explained their research focus: unmanned trains, axle load (new steel for tracks), technology driven track inspection.

“The IHHA is dedicated to the pursuit of excellence in heavy haul railway operations, engineering, maintenance, and technology. It strives to accomplish this mission through the acquisition of knowledge relevant to this goal by sponsoring and organizing international and regional conferences, specialist technical sessions and specialist seminars; by commissioning guideline manuals, by preparing and distributing conference proceedings and technical documentation and by related activities as recommended by the Board of Directors.” Mission Statement IHHA

The next IHHA conference will be held in Calgary 19-22 June 2011 and will focus on rail operations under extreme conditions.

Oliver Sellnick discussed opportunities for a broader cooperation between the IHHA and the UIC with the board. Clearly, the high level of operational productivity of IHHA members is of interest for a large audience at UIC, while IHHA could benefit of the broad range of activities of UIC. As potential cooperation fields were identified for further review:

Environment and sustainability
Rail operations under extreme conditions

For more information please contact Oliver Sellnick: