KiwiRail to Dump Electric Trains – Dominion Post

The following article was first published in the Dompost in January. A list of other articles, opinion pieces and documents that relate to KiwiRail’s Electric Trains can be found here

KiwiRail has announced plans to ditch its North Island electric rail fleet and replace with diesel freight engines – a decision derided by environmentalist and Opposition MPs. 

But chief executive Peter Reidy says the switch will improve reliability and efficiency for Kiwirail’s customers.

Plans to replace 16 electric trains – each about 30 years old – which operated between Hamilton and Palmerston North would see diesel locomotives begin operating in phases over the next two years.

SUPPLIED


An electric freight train is to become a scarcity in the next two years.

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KiwiRail “EF Q and A”

KiwiRail’s reasoning or defense for quitting Electric Trains is published below, and can also be found on their website. I’ve added a few comments in blue.

A list of other documents found online media is in this post 

Why is only part of the NIMT electrified?

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 →

KiwiRail de-Electrification

KiwiRail has decided to axe the electric locomotive fleet running between Palmerston North and Hamilton. This post aims to document all the news media on the topic.

Replacing Electric Trains with Diesels

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?

KiwiRail's EF locomotives and their infrastructure could be axed as KiwiRail "reviews their future". Photo: J Christianson / Wiki Creative Commons

“Performing Poorly”: KiwiRail’s EF locomotives and their infrastructure could be axed as KiwiRail “reviews their future”. Photo: J Christianson / Wiki Creative Commons

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