Mount Newman railway
|Mount Newman railway|
BHP iron ore train arriving at Port Hedland
|Locale||Pilbara, Western Australia|
|Line length||426 km (264.70 mi)|
The Mount Newman railway, owned and operated by BHP Billiton, is a private rail network in the Pilbara region of Western Australia for the purpose of carrying iron ore. It is one of two railway lines the group operates in the Pilbara, the other being the Goldsworthy railway.
Additionally to the BHP Billiton network, there are also another two independent iron ore rail lines in the Pilbara. One is operated by the Rio Tinto Group, the Hamersley & Robe River railway, while the other, operated by the Fortescue Metals Group, is the Fortescue railway.
The Mount Newman railway runs for 426 kilometres, from Newman to Port Hedland and is one of Australia’s longest private railways. The line, alongside with its spur lines to Mount Whaleback, Orebodies 18, 23 and 25, Jimblebar, Yandi and Area C, services the iron ore mines at Newman. It has the longest and heaviest trains in the world. The railway line was officially opened on 22 January 1969 by Sir David Brand.
Voice and data communications utilise a digitally trunked P25 VHF radio system and SDH transmission via either fiber or microwave linked repeater sites. The vast majority of remote repeater sites are solar powered with generator backup. The system is maintained by BHP Billiton Rail Communication Technicians based out of Port Hedlands Nelson Point and Newman. All track side infrastructure such as wheel scanners, signals, switch motors, telemetry data and monitoring devices are solar powered and are monitored and controlled out of Nelson Point and the Perth Operations Center.
The rail journey from Newman to Port Hedland typically takes about eight hours for the ore trains which are 2.63 kilometers long. Each rail car carries up to 126 tonnes of ore and trains consist of 248 cars, leading to the trains pulling 31,000 tonnes of ore.
At the end of 2012, BHP Billiton opened its new train control facility. All train control function now operates from its Perth building.
On 21 June 2001, the line broke the world record for the heaviest train when a train weighing 99,734 tons and formed of 682 wagons ran for 275 kilometres between Yandi and Port Hedland on the Mount Newman line. The train was 7.3 kilometres long, carried 82,000 tons of iron ore and was pulled by eight locomotives. 
On 15 June 2004, the National Competition Council of Australia received an application from the Fortescue Metals Group (FMG) to use part of the Mount Newman railway and also part of the Goldsworthy railway.
In June 2010, the Australian Competition Tribunal ruled that FMG would be granted access to Rio Tinto's Robe River line and BHP Billiton's Goldsworthy line but not to the busier Hamersley and Mount Newman lines.  Treasurer Wayne Swan suggested that several advantages would accrue from access to the rail lines by third parties. It would increase competition, reduce duplication of infrastructure, and reduce environmental damage.
Access to the rail networks by third parties is governed by the State Agreements Act.
- Rail BHP Billiton website, accessed: 6 November 2010
- Rail Rio Tinto Iron Ore website, accessed: 6 November 2010
- Infrastructure: Rail Fortescue website, accessed: 6 November 2010
- Aerial photographs of the construction of the Mt Newman Iron Ore Railroad, Newman to Nelson Point (Port Hedland), 7 Feb. 1968 National Library of Australia, accessed: 6 November 2010
- Hamersley Freight Line, Australia railway-technology.com, accessed: 4 November 2010
- BHP breaks its own heaviest train record Railway Gazette International, published: 1 August 2001, accessed: 5 November 2010
- Mt Newman Railway National Competition Council of Australia website, accessed: 6 November 2010
- Junior miners win limited access to Pilbara rail network lloydslistdcn.com.au, published: 1 July 2010, accessed: 4 November 2010
- Watchdog 'can demand Pilbara rail expansion' The Australian, published: 13 May 2010, accessed: 4 November 2010
- BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto angry on open Pilbara rail line news.com.au, published: 28 October 2008, accessed: 4 November 2010
- Report on Current Transport and Communications Infrastructure in the Pilbara Murdoch University, accessed: 4 November 2010
- "BHP Billiton places large heavy haul locomotive order". Railway Gazette International. 2 March 2012. Archived from the original on 14 March 2012. Retrieved 14 March 2012.
- BHP Billiton website
- Pilbara Railways – rail enthusiast website
- West Aust Railscene eMag (weekly, free) – frequently includes images of, and short notes on, Mount Newman railway operations