BHP Billiton strategic rail review

Arup worked with BHP Billiton Iron Ore's senior management to analyse their railroad operations in the Pilbara region of Western Australia and consider expansion options to meet future business requirements.

The client objectives were to strategically plan the future of the railroad and select the most appropriate path to meet the business requirements. Arup was tasked with analysing the capacity of the present single track, and the likely operational savings if the track was duplicated. 

A review of the capacity of the line in various configurations was completed, with a view to increasing capacity to 300 million tonnes of iron ore per annum.

Arup developed a 'freight railroad strategic driver tree' which provided a framework in which analyse of how the factors interacted and how they determine the capacity, flexibility and cost of the railroad could be completed. 

The firm also developed an economic cost model to compare options for different infrastructure configurations and train operational configurations for the required capacity. The model was used to provide economic advice on the lowest cost per tonne option for each stage of expansion from 100m tonnes per annum to 300m tonnes per annum.

Arup continues to be involved in ongoing reviews and further work that concern the future of BHP Biliton's railroad operations.


  • Freight train travelling through Australian countryside.Open gallery

    Arup worked with BHP Billiton to analyse their railroad operations in Western Australia and consider expansion options.