The project was one of the so-called “Think Big” projects of the Muldoon era and a response to the oil price shocks of the 1970s and early 1980s. A factor in the decision was that the diesel locomotives at the time were not powerful enough to transport the freight up the gradients in the central North Island, meaning a second locomotive had to be used. Electrifying the relatively level sections of line between Wellington and Palmerston North and between Te Rapa and Auckland was not considered economically justifiable at the time. Technology has advanced to the point that diesels can now deliver this horsepower. The DL locomotives are powerful enough to negotiate the gradients without needing to be doubled up.
NZ first used DX class locomotives in 1972. Compare this with the Chinese DL locomotives, and they are the same weight, horsepower and drive system. Just that 1972 was 14 years before the first EF locomotive.
The poor reliability of the DL locomotives means that they are often doubled-up Continue reading →
So did Stuff, describing Iain Hill’s plan ‘nuts’. Iain now works for China’s NZ agent for train stuff, and was doing his best in 2015 to discredit the electric trains when Chinese diesel trains weren’t doing a lot better.
1News – Leaked Documents Raise Serious Concerns about KiwiRail’s Decision. A slight bombshell where leaked KiwiRail documents reveal that keeping and upgrading the electirc locomotive fleet will save KiwiRail $230 million. And “Treasury also had concerns. Cabinet advice given to the Green Party under the Official Information Act shows officials weren’t convinced by the business case. They warned KiwiRail “provided no basis for its cost estimate” “
Greater Auckland – KiwiRail de-electrification questioned. This has a bit of juicy info on why KiwiRail’s de-powering plan is a crock of shit, and is firm evidence that they did cook the books. And quotes from that Worly-Parsons report are gold.
So, cash-strapped, third-world countries might do this sort of thing, but most would expect forward-thinking countries like NZ to be expanding its electric railways, given climate change, sustainability and general ‘green’ stuff, right?
“Performing Poorly”: KiwiRail’s EF locomotives and their infrastructure could be axed as KiwiRail “reviews their future”. Photo: J Christianson / Wiki Creative Commons