Pacific National, Australia, 88 Class Project Support

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Pacific National, Australia, 88 Class Project Support

Pacific National was looking to purchase a number of newly designed narrow gauge, heavy haul locomotives from an overseas supply source. 

SNC-Lavalin was awarded the contracts to support Pacific National through the procurement lifecycle, from technical specification of locomotives, to testing, commissioning and implementation.


Once a supply contract was executed, we continued to support the client in a number of ways, such as providing project risk management services and helping to develop the safety case required for regulatory approval before the new locomotives could be introduced. 

A unique approach to evaluating bids

The client wanted to procure the locomotives from China, but knew that the manufacturers in that country had limited experience of supply to Australia. We developed a specification that was performance-based and in a format that allowed for an easy, quantitative comparison of the competing offers. That novel approach led the team to the right manufacturer for the job.

Supporting the manufacturer

Because the manufacturer was relatively unfamiliar with the Australian marketplace, we wanted to make sure the manufacturer was adequately supported in meeting the required standards. A team of local Chinese SNC-Lavalin engineers and expats was engaged to provide on-site support throughout the building, testing and commissioning of the locomotives.

Preventing communication challenges

A project of this scale and with so many stakeholders and nationalities can have cultural and communication challenges. We helped the client develop an active project risk register through which we identified potential issues and worked proactively to prevent them. 


The locomotives were successfully delivered into service and are now in operation in Queensland as the 88 Class.

Key Facts

  • Pacific National
  • 2015
  • Australia
  • Freight