Railway equipment supplier and lessor, CFCL Australia (CFCLA) is expanding its lease portfolio and with the sale of ballast hopper wagons to Australian Rail Track Corporation Ltd (ARTC) is highlighting its ability to supply specialised wagon fleets to niche markets within the Australian rail industry.

CFCLA recently completed the sale of seven (7) reconditioned ballast hoppers to ARTC for use on infrastructure work trains involved in ARTC's maintenance and upgrading programs for the interstate rail network.

The 22 tonne tare, 69 tonne capacity hoppers, numbered PHQF 71-77, have been fitted with Morrison Knudsen Phase VI Control Flow doors during refurbishment, to ARTC's own specifications, by Chicago Freight Car Leasing at their workshops in the US. After being shipped to the Port of Fremantle, final fit-out to ROA rolling stock standards was carried out by Gemco in Perth. The hoppers were then hauled to Kalgoorlie for acceptance trials.

CFCLA's Project Manager, Mr Mike McGee said, "The sale of these hoppers to ARTC demonstrates that CFCLA is a versatile and responsive provider of rolling stock and can supply rail operators and rail infrastructure service providers with either small or large quantities of specialised rolling stock. Previously we had supplied a fleet of eight radio controlled ballast hoppers to Westrail, again, substantially modified in the US by CFCL before delivery.

General Manager, Engineering and Infrastructure for ARTC, Malcolm Owens said, "CFCLA has provided us with the flexibility we needed with a small fleet and at the same time refurbished them to an exacting specification."

Mr Owens continued, "CFCLA were able to deliver the wagons on time and we look forward to putting them to good use in assisting us and our contractors with our intensive works program of track upgrades and routine maintenance on the interstate rail network."

Other current CFCLA projects include the continuing upgrade and overhaul of its lease fleet of thirteen 3000hp EL locomotives by Goninan in Perth, with several of them already leased out to rail operators. In Adelaide, the refurbishment of 22 high-capacity container flat wagons continues, being undertaken by Bluebird Rail Engineering at Islington.

Mike McGee concluded by saying, "The provision of open access and further privatisation of the industry, coupled with a number of major rail infrastructure projects coming on stream, provides us with strong opportunities to expand our operations in Australia."

"We have an aggressive strategy in place with the aim of becoming a leading supplier and lessor of locomotives and rolling stock to the Australian market. We anticipate that this strategy will involve the introduction of new wagon builds later this year and we will be announcing details of this project shortly."

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