Mobile Fast Rail Loaders

To improve turnaround time and to facilitate block working of grain trains to single destinations, an ingenious device known as the 'Mobile Fast Rail Loader' was designed by Ausbulk. The first one was introduced in 2003, and several are now used by ABB Grain (successor to Ausbulk) around Eyre Peninsula.

They can only be used with concrete vertical silos due to the rapid evacuation of grain from one side of the silo which takes place during loading. Special prime movers allow them to be moved quickly between sites. The silo modifications include the fitting of special hatches and valves on the side of cells facing a rail siding.

All photos by Peter Knife at Lock in April 2006.

Loader parked

The loader is 'parked' between jobs. The silo modifications are visible on two of the cells, and that at the left has the detachable chute in place. Note the slogan on the side of the main boom - each loader has 'Saving Country Roads' on one side and 'Saving Country Rail' on the other.

Loader in place

The loader is in place ready for the arrival of an empty grain train.

Train arriving

The train (hauled by 1203, 851 and 906) has drawn into the siding, and ABB's loading supervisor is consulting with ARG's driver before loading commences. The loader's boom is raised well clear of the train.

Loading in progress

Loading is under way. The ABB loader operator (safely harnessed) controls the raising and lowering of the boom and the flow of grain, and is in radio contact with the locomotive driver to coordinate positioning of the wagons.

Loading in progress

Another view of loading in progress.