Roy Hill’s independently owned and operated railway is a 344km standard gauge, single line, heavy haul railway built to transport 60Mtpa of iron ore from the Roy Hill Mine to the dedicated Port stockyard facility, in the Boodarie Industrial Estate south of Port Hedland.

Five ore trains per day will operate from the Roy Hill Mine, each consisting of two diesel electric locomotives hauling 232 ore cars with a total payload of 31,132 tonnes of ore. Due to the undulating nature of the terrain to the north of the mine, for the first 30 kilometres of the journey to Port Hedland, each train will initially be assisted by rear located, manned banker locomotives.

The railway has four passing loops built into the system, each approximately 3.2 kilometres long, which are positioned to optimise cycle times of the trains during the 24 hour cycle.

Trains are loaded at the Roy Hill Mine using a state-of-the-art train loading system controlled from the Remote Operations Centre (ROC) in Perth. The overhead train loadout at the Mine takes approximately 160 minutes per train. Loaded ore trains are then driven nonstop to the Port Hedland unloading loop where they are unloaded using a rotary car dumper, which tips two ore cars at a time in an 88 second cycle.

A marshalling yard is located eight kilometres from the Port car dumper. It has been specifically designed to facilitate the rapid refuelling of locomotives, inspection of empty trains prior to their return to the Mine and heavy maintenance tasks.

A state-of-the-art, high technology communications based, automatic train protection and in cab, moving block signalling system provides improved safety for all track related activities and increased operational efficiencies, while also making the system ready for future autonomous rail operations.

The adoption of this full vehicle tracking communication based technology is the first of its kind to be used in Australia and will set new benchmarks for iron ore railways in the Pilbara. Automated route setting and train control is managed from the ROC in Perth.