Since 1976, we have led the effort to disseminate technical knowledge and best practice in the heavy haul industry.


Our Mission

The IHHA is dedicated to the pursuit of excellence in heavy haul railway operations, engineering, maintenance, and technology. It strives to accomplish this mission through the acquisition of knowledge relevant to this goal by sponsoring and organizing international and regional conferences, specialist technical sessions and specialist seminars; by commissioning guideline manuals, by preparing and distributing conference proceedings and technical documentation and by related activities as recommended by the Board of Directors. The IHHA engages in a continual process of adaptation to ensure it satisfies the demands of state-of-the-art technical information that is relevant in a changing and developing industry.


Based upon the work done by the Melbourne Research Laboratories of the Broken Hill Properties Co Ltd (BHP) for the Mt Newman Mining and Hamersley Iron railways in the Pilbura region of Western Australia the idea sprang up in 1975-76 to disseminate the knowledge gained in that research program with other heavy haul railways of the world. After discussions with other countries it was determined that they were not alone in their concerns and problems. Therefore, they sent out invitations world-wide to those railways that were involved in using dedicated unit trains to haul such commodities as coal, grain, iron ore, etc

The IHHA has led the way in developing quality materials for railway professionals.
— Scott Lovelace, CEO IHHA

What We've Achieved

  • 14 International Conferences held in 8 countries involving participants from every railroading country in the world.

  • Peer review and publication of over 2,000 heavy haul articles and papers over 40 years.

  • Publication of 3 Best Practice Books on Infrastructure Construction, Wheel Rail Interface, and Track Maintenance.

  • 2019 Narvik conference attracted over 600 attendees from 52 countries.

  • Created Heavy Haul of Fame

  • Support and Development for emerging railway professionals including training workshops, industry awards, and sponsorship.