The first of KiwiRail's asbestos-containing locomotives were
back on the tracks yesterday after being given the all clear.
More of the 40 Chinese-made DL locomotives will be
re-introduced to service over the coming weeks, following the
hazard scare at the end of February.
Asbestos-containing materials were found in soundproofing
compound inside one of the vehicles, which prompted the
withdrawal of the DLs.
They have now been cleaned and sanitised, with car body doors
replaced, KiwiRail said, and all have passed air and swab
"Remaining asbestos containing materials in the locomotives
will be removed within 12 months, and appropriate management
procedures and controls will remain in place during his
KiwiRail chief executive Peter Reidy said the company had
"every confidence [it had] taken all possible steps to manage
any risk to our people".
Taking the locomotives off the tracks forced the company to
operate on a reduced service which had impacted on businesses
and supply chains, he said, but it would be returning to full
Rail services to Northland are expected to resume on April
Rail and Maritime Transport Union general secretary Wayne
Butson said it was good that no test results from the
locomotive cabs had shown up positive.
"But our members know that where there is asbestos present in
locomotives, risk still remains, and so a very careful
process for eliminating the risk to rail staff was needed,"
- Patrice Dougan of APNZ