CQUniversity looking at the long-haul of safety and loads

VITAL pieces of machinery will be sought in a $1.92 million research project at CQUniversity to boost safety and load potential for long haul coal trains.

Queensland's resource sector will benefit from the  ground-breaking research meaning more products can make it to the port on time.

Minister for Science and Innovation Ian Walker said heavy haul trains were getting longer - up to 2km -and carrying heavier loads, delivering on the Queensland Government's election promise to grow resources as one of the four pillars of the economy.

"Long haul trains are a vital link in the resource economy:  if they don't operate efficiently and safely the coal and iron ore don't make it from the mines to the ports for export," Mr Walker said.

"This $1.92 million research project at CQUniversity is looking at a vital piece of machinery, draft gear units, that play a key role in train safety and efficiency.

"The Queensland Government has provided $960,000 over three years to this project, partnering with CQUniversity and business, to develop and commercialise better draft gear units, the 'shock absorbers' that sit between wagons and help to keep long trains stable.

"Labor failed to grow the resources sector, but we have a plan for the industry that will create jobs and boost the State's economy, and putting money into this sort of research will help deliver more coal, more quickly.

"The research team is looking at ways to make draft gear units more effective for long trains, using innovative design and development methods.

"This will improve the safety and reliability of heavy-haul trains so Queensland's resources sector can get more of their product to port faster."

Mr Walker said the project, led by Professor Colin Cole, could also generate commercial opportunities for Queensland manufacturers.

"We're always keen to see ideas go from the lab to the marketplace and so far, the team has developed new software to simulate and explore various gear unit designs," he said.

"The goal is to commercialise the gear unit and the testing method, which could give Queensland's manufacturing sector a real edge in competing against gear units made in other countries."

CQUniversity Vice-Chancellor Scott Bowman said the project was another great example of the university's strong ethos of engagement.

"Partnering the best team of researchers in the field with government and industry will only drive the economies of this state forward, and with it our communities," Mr Bowman said.

"CQUniversity is proud to be at the cutting edge of resource industry engineering, and we can't wait to see where our engagement, research and development takes us next."



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