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KiwiRail’s second generation DL Locomotives were officially launched today in Auckland by the Minister of Transport, Hon Gerry Brownlee.
These 20 new locomotives are about to join the other 20 DL’s that have been hauling rail freight for almost two years in the Upper North Island.
According to KiwiRail Chief Executive, Jim Quinn, the first ten of these huge machines are already in operation after only being delivered two months ago and several of the second tranche are operational.
“We now have over 30 DL Locomotives in operation around the North Island and they have been instrumental in providing enough capacity and grunt to ensure we deliver for our customers,” he said.
The second tranche of 10 DL’s arrived in mid-July and they are all scheduled to be operating in the upper North Island in the next couple of weeks.
“CNR have done a great job with incorporating the modifications needed to the design and we are very happy with how quickly these new locomotives are able to go into operation,” said Mr Quinn
Also on show at the event were new freight wagons and curtain-sided containers.
“Our strategy to expand our wagon and container fleet has been going on for some time. On display today were examples of the latest additions to enable us to further increase capacity.”
“We have another 150 container wagons arriving next week which will increase our new container wagon fleet to number over 835.”
Over the last three years freight revenue has increased by over $100 million.
“Without these additions to the freight fleet we would not have been able to achieve this growth or deliver on the capacity our customers were asking for,” he said.
“With the delivery of the new locomotives we are now able to move some to the lower North Island to further improve delivery capacity for our customers in that region. This also means we can free up some locomotive power to cater for the demand in other parts of the country and begin retiring our oldest and least powerful locomotives.”
“All across the country we are moving more freight and we are forecasting that this level of growth will continue.”
Mr Quinn also took the opportunity to thank customers for their commitment of volume and investment around rail and the Government for its support for the investment plan.
“Our customer and shareholder commitment to our 10-year investment programme for both above and below rail infrastructure and equipment has been essential in enabling us to keep growing the business.”
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 5-10% more fuel efficient when running 1 for 1 replacing the current fleet, and where they replace two 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. 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.
KiwiRail currently owns 179 mainline locomotives, and much of its diesel fleet is 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.
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