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New Rolling Stock proves its worth
New locomotives and wagons are becoming the new workhorses on the network and has KiwiRail strongly placed to meet customer requirements.
Chief executive Jim Quinn says the new locomotives and wagons, added to the fleet during 2011 were essential during last summer's demanding peak freight season last year.
"A strong dairy season and the industrial action at the Ports of Auckland meant last year's peak season was exceptionally busy for us. However the additional capacity that new rolling stock gave us meant we were able to meet all customer requirements, particularly during the busiest part of the season. That could not have been achieved without the additional rolling stock"
The 20 new DL locomotives have already notched up 1.9 million kilometres, while the 535 wagons have run a total of 26 million kilometres.
A single DL locomotive can haul 2000 tonnes, and the fleet is used on the busy Auckland to Tauranga route, running up to eight services a day, seven days a week.
The new wagons are a key part of KiwiRail's intermodal strategy and their heavy draw-gear means they are able to carry up to 56 tonnes, an increase from the old UK fleet's 43 tonne capacity.
Mr Quinn acknowledges there have been some bedding-in issues introducing the new equipment, but is confident those issues are largely resolved.
"In this month alone (July) the DL fleet achieved their highest MDBF (mean distance between failures) scores, outperforming the old DX fleet of locomotives by 3,000km."
"There will always be a risk of issues arising when you are introducing bespoke (newly designed) rollingstock. It is common with this type of equipment that when going through the design, construction and commissioning phases adjustments and repairs will need to be made. The key outcome of this phase is to create a product for future orders rather than continue to bespoke build for each order"
"The DLs are not yet performing to their full level but nevertheless they have been at the heart of business growth over the past year. Some DLs have consistently performed well from day one, in fact better than the rest of the entire loco fleet, so this demonstrates what these are capable of.
"The manufacturer is standing by their warranty agreement with us and we are confident the rectification programme will be complete by September."
Mr Quinn expects the second order of 20 more locomotives to begin arriving next year.
"A prototype for the second generation of the DL Locomotives with the needed rectifications has been completed and is currently being tested. It has travelled over 25,000km without any major problems being encountered."
"The fact is we measure performance carefully and the reliability and performance of our locomotives and wagons. They are improving as issues are being rectified. Our customers are seeing, and have seen throughout, improved service performance and capability."