The current catchword within Pacific National is “innovation” and, in line with this, construction will soon be completed on three new locomotives to further expand their fleet.
These new locomotives are classed as the XRB (the ‘B’ is for Booster) and they are similar in operational characteristics to the three recently completed XR series two locomotives.
Why the ‘B’ for booster? The noteworthy difference is that the XRB lacks a driving control cab. This has two major business advantages as the lack of a control cab significantly reduces the capital expenditure on the unit and frees up those fitted with cabs, improving locomotive utilization across the company.
The XRB units will be used as “slave” (or booster) units on long distance haulage in multi unit with other locomotives. The absence of a driving cab has allowed additional space for further improvements to the locomotive unit and these include an additional cooling fan and a more efficient and improved braking arrangement. The modular design of the existing XR class has also been built into the XRB’s to provide improved maintenance accessibility.
The current high demand for efficient and reliable Intermodal locomotives will grow as freight services expand and the XRB’s offer one solution to freeing up traditional cab locomotives for increased intermodal customer demand.
The new concept locomotives will be introduced for operation, then monitored and evaluated closely for operational benefit before any further strategic decisions are made as to be introduction of further similar units.
Pacific National, through its Operation Services Division has introduced a raft of engineering related skills into the design, production and testing of the XRB. This new locomotive construction is illustrating how a rail operator can introduce new concepts together with manufacturing innovation to assist in delivering the increasing customer demand of the Australian rail industry.