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New locomotives signal beginning of investment

Media release

10 December 2010


New locomotives signal beginning of investment to rebuild rail


The addition of new locomotives to the KiwiRail fleet this month is the most significant step yet in a major investment programme to rebuild the rail business, says KiwiRail chairman John Spencer.

Mr Spencer was speaking in Hamilton today at an event to celebrate the arrival of the first six of 20 new diesel electric locomotives.

“We are marking one of the most important events in recent rail history – the beginning of the process to renew the locomotive fleet and indeed the rail business itself,” he says.

“The age and limited fleet size of our existing locomotives and wagons presents a major challenge to growth in our freight business,” he says.

“Renewing both these fleets is one of the elements of a programme to make our business more efficient and competitive.”

Mr Spencer took the opportunity to thank the Government for its support for the investment plan.

Their commitment to funding these 20 new locomotives and further investment in additional rolling stock and infrastructure over the next three years will enable considerable efficiency and capacity gains on key freight routes, he says.

The 10-year investment programme aims to create a step change in service by improving both above and below rail infrastructure. KiwiRail envisages renewing both its locomotive and rolling stock fleets during this time, says KiwiRail chief executive Jim Quinn.

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The six DL class locomotives arrived in the country in mid November and it is expected the first of these will be in service before Christmas. They will be used on the Auckland-Hamilton-Tauranga ‘golden triangle’ freight route and the Bay of Plenty forestry routes.

The remaining 14 are due early next year. These will also be deployed around the North Island.


ENDS


Background

The double-cab DLs have a 2700kW engine with similar pulling power to the electric locomotives that are used on the NIMT.

The new locomotives are expected to be 5-10% more fuel efficient when running 1 for 1 replacing the current fleet, and where they replace 2 existing locomotives the fuel saving is towards the 30% mark.

The locomotives have been built by the Dalian Locomotive and Rolling Stock Co. Ltd, which is part of the CNR Group, at a cost of approximately $NZ75 million.
KiwiRail currently owns 149 mainline locomotives, and much of its diesel fleet now considered underpowered and outmoded by today’s standards.
The oldest are the DBR and DC classes which date back to 1965. DC locomotives constitute approximately one third of the current fleet. They are 1500 hp.
The newest locomotives, and most powerful at 4000 hp are 17 EF locomotives built for the electrified section of the North Island Main Trunk in 1988. The newest diesel locomotives are the DX class which average 3000hp, purchased between 1972 and 1976.
The CNR Dalian facility employs over 8000 staff including almost 2000 engineers and technicians. It has been manufacturing locomotives since 1899 and more particularly, diesel electric locomotives for over 40 years. Currently the site is producing over 500 locomotives per annum.

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