Aurizon freights 187 million tonnes of coal
RAIL behemoth Aurizon has broken a long-standing coal haulage record, overcoming a benchmark set about four years ago when the mining boom was at its hottest.
The former QR National has moved 187.38 million tonnes of coal through its Central Queensland Coal Network since the start of the financial year, 20,000 tonnes more than its 2009-10 total, with an entire month left to run before the current year ends on June 30.
The network includes the rail links more than 40 coal mines through the Moura, Blackwater, Goonyella and Newlands "systems" - amounting to more than 2500km of track.
The Moura system runs south-west of Gladstone, taking in Callide and the Dawson mine near the Moura township.
It links to the Blackwater system, which runs to mines at Blackwater, Rollestone, Curragh, Emerald and Springsure west of Rockhampton, which - along with Moura - deliver to waiting ships at the Port of Gladstone.
Travelling north, the Goonyella System connects to Blackwater, delivering coal from Oaky Creek, German Creek and Middlemount to Dalrymple Bay and Hay Point terminals south of Mackay.
Further still, the Newlands system delivers coal from Collinsville and Newlands mines to Abbot Point.
The staggering figures come as Central Queensland mines push hard to export as much coal as they can to offset crumbling world prices.
For Aurizon, it is a sign that its work to speed up its lines is paying off.
Aurizon executive vice-president Alex Kummant said in a year when the rail network was struck by "significant weather events", the company was proud to break the record.
The number of areas where coal-hauling trains are forced to slow down have also been reduced.
"The record volumes, achieved in under 11 months, reflect the company's ongoing transformation across all parts of the business," he said.