Watco Australia’s Queensland service gathering steam

Major contract and regional hub mark US railroad firm's local progress

Watco Australia’s Queensland service gathering steam
Watco's first GrainCorp train at Mackay Port


A major contract with GrainCorp, accompanied by a new rail operations hub in Warwick in southeast Queensland, underscores American rail firm Watco Transportation Services’ headway in the state.

Watco Australia’s first GrainCorp train was put into service in December 2019, consisting of two locomotives and 42 wagons loaded with chickpeas travelling from Mt. McLaren to Mackay Port.

Watco signed a 10-year rail haulage contract with GrainCorp, acquiring new rolling stock consisting of eight new National Rail and Equipment (NRE) locomotives and 128 wagons, it reports.

Watco is majority owner of Intermodal Group in Australia

The locomotives were engineered and built at NRE’s facility in Illinois to fit Queensland’s narrowgauge rail and weight limitations.

The wagons made for the service are bolted together from lightweight aluminium to get to axle loads permitted on Queensland’s rail lines, Watco explains, each being watertight and able to carry 46.6 tonnes.

The firm chose Warwick as its base in Queensland, delivering a jobs boost for the region.

"We’re excited with the startup of operations for newest Australia customer," Watco Australia chief commercial officer Ken Potts says on the firm’s website.

"GrainCorp has been an integral part of our planning process and should be one of our top five customers worldwide once fully operational."

Watco has been operating in Australia since 2010, predominantly in Western Australia.


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