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China on track thanks to WA rail technology

When China wants to learn how to keep the biggest and fastest growing rail network in the world in tip-top shape, it turns to WA for expertise.

China is spending tens of billions in the biggest rail network construction campaign in human history.

It is laying down tens of thousands of kilometres of track in high-speed rail networks to connect its cities.

It is also buying heavy-haul tracks to carry billions of tonnes of Australian iron ore and coal to its steel mills and manufacturing centres.

But when a train is rushing passengers between cities at 300km/h, or locomotives are hauling 300 wagons full of iron ore through the outskirts of densely packed cities, even the slightest flaw can lead to disaster.

That’s where WA company Speno Rail Maintenance hopes to make its mark.

The high-tech manufacturer services the rail networks in the Pilbara and has just signed a contract to deliver two of its ultrasonic rail flaw detection wagons to Chinese partner Kiway. Designed in Perth, the vehicles rush down the track at up to 100km, pointing an array of sophisticated sensors at the line to detect the slightest flaws, allowing trouble spots to be spotted and fixed before the worst happens.

Speno managing director Ben Lombardo said WA had enormous expertise in running the rail networks that haul iron ore in the Pilbara and is well placed to export knowledge overseas.

“Our intellectual property is of high value, and these kind of deals can help support ongoing job creation in manufacturing and technical support at home,” he said.

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