KiwiRail executives have ordered more Chinese locomotives to
pull New Zealand trains.
KiwiRail chief executive Jim Quinn said the company had
signed a contract for a further 20, 108-tonne DL Locomotives
from CNR Corporation.
KiwiRail signed the order in June for diesel locomotives
identical to the 20 ordered in 2009. Those cost $75 million
and were delivered in two stages: six last year and 14 which
arrived at KiwiRail's Te Rapa depot recently.
The latest locomotives delivered were being commissioned to
be progressively deployed onto key freight routes around the
The Dalian class was expected to be 5 percent to 10 percent
more fuel efficient than locomotives in the current fleet of
149 mainline engines dating from 1961-1988. Where one of the
new engines is used to replace two of the older locomotives,
the fuel savings were expected to be closer to 30 percent.
The double-cab DLs came with a German-built 2700kW engine
with similar pulling power to the electric locomotives that
are used on the main trunk line between Hamilton and
A state owned enterprises (SOE) minister in the previous
Labour government, Trevor Mallard, said when the original
purchase was debated that it might be possible to buy
locomotive components and assemble them in New Zealand.
But the National Party - then in opposition - criticised the
plan as "an idea from the 1950s" which it claimed would waste
KiwiRail recently ordered another 200 container flat deck
wagons, costing $20 million, in addition to 300 that are
already being delivered. It plans to replace 3000 wagons over
Last month railworkers and business leaders called on the
Government to direct KiwiRail to abandon plans to slash 70
jobs at Dunedin's Hillside and Lower Hutt's Woburn railway
They criticised KiwiRail for spending millions of dollars on
Chinese-built wagons instead of having them built locally.
Mr Quinn said at the time it would cost KiwiRail 25 percent,
or $7 million, more to have Hillside Workshops build the
wagons from alone. For the locomotives the difference was at
least 70 percent, he said.