Results of tests on KiwiRail's new Chinese-made locomotives
for asbestos are expected today.
Forty of the state-owned company's locomotives were taken out
of action following the discovery of the potentially deadly
material in a soundproofing compound inside one of the
vehicles on Thursday.
Samples were taken from locomotives in Auckland, Hamilton,
Tauranga and Palmerston North over the weekend, and from
locomotives in Wellington yesterday, KiwiRail said.
They were then analysed by an accredited laboratory in
"Our preliminary advice following testing of a first
locomotive on Friday indicted that the asbestos in that
locomotive was contained and does not constitute a risk to
health," KiwiRail chief executive Peter Reidy said.
"However the health and safety of our staff must be our
priority so we need to have analysis of all the DL
locomotives before we can determine what our next steps will
be. That analysis is being completed this afternoon so
tomorrow we should be in a position to consider our next
steps," he said.
The manufacturer has accepted responsibility for the issue
and indicated that they will do what is necessary to rectify
the situation, Mr Reidy said.
Testing was carried out as soon as the manufacturer confirmed
the presence of asbestos in the soundproofing compound, which
is not exposed and either coated with paint or sealed beneath
panelling, he said.
Asbestos can be harmful when fibres become airborne.