Refurbishing KiwiRail’s aging electric locomotives on the North Island Main Trunk line will provide additional capacity as rail continues its freight growth, KiwiRail Acting Chief Executive Todd Moyle said.
The New Zealand Government is funding the $35 million NZD refurbishment, which will extend the life of the electric locomotives (EFs) by 10 years. At the moment the EFs are breaking down roughly every 30,000 km, below KiwiRail’s fleet target of 50,000 km, and only eight of them are able to be used, officials contend.
“With this funding KiwiRail will be able to refurbish the 15 locos – including working with a supplier to upgrade their electronic control systems – at our Hutt Workshops over the next three to four years,” Moyle said. “We expect between four and eight new jobs will be created refurbishing the locomotives and the team which maintains and operates the electric locos will be increased back to its full staffing level.
In October, KiwiRail took possession of 15 new locomotives which were ordered before the EF decision was made.
“As part of that decision, we committed to continuing to maintain the overhead cables and electric infrastructure on the NIMT, which left the way open for future use if desired,” Moyle said. “The Government has shown a clear commitment to rail, including NZTA funding business cases for further electrification of the Auckland rail network from Papakura to Pukekohe and adding a Third Main line in Auckland.”