New Zealand DC class locomotive

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New Zealand DC class
MAXX Train DC4254.jpg
DC 4254 in service for ARTA (now Auckland Transport) at Papakura in 2006.
Type and origin
Power type Diesel-electric
Builder General Motors Canada (original builder)
Clyde Engineering, Australia (re-builder, 80 units)
NZR Hutt Workshops, Lower Hutt, New Zealand (re-builder, 5 units)
Build date 1961 – 1967 (as DA class)
1978 – 1981 (rebuilt as DC class)
Specifications
UIC classification A1A-A1A
Gauge 3 ft 6 in (1,067 mm)
Wheel diameter 1.25 metres (4 ft 1 in)
Length 14.10 metres (46 ft 3 in)
Width 2.72 metres (8 ft 11 in)
Height 3.76 metres (12 ft 4 in)
Weight on drivers 60.0 tonnes (59.1 long tons; 66.1 short tons)
Locomotive weight 82.0 tonnes (80.7 long tons; 90.4 short tons)
Fuel type Diesel
Prime mover EMD 12-645C or EMD 12-645E
Engine RPM range 900 rpm
Engine type V12 Diesel engine
Aspiration Normally aspirated (Roots blower)
Cylinders 12
Cylinder size ? x ?
Performance figures
Maximum speed 100 km/h (62 mph)
Power output 1,062 kW (1,424 hp) (645C)
1,230 kW (1,650 hp) (645E)
Tractive effort 140 kN (31,000 lbf)
Career
Number in class 85
Number(s) DC 4006 – 4951 (TMS)
DC 1551 – 1599 (original)[n 1]
First run 1978
Disposition 57 in service
14 withdrawn
14 scrapped including 1 sold to TasRail

The New Zealand DC class is the most common class of diesel-electric main-line locomotive on the New Zealand rail network, operated by KiwiRail primarily on freight trains, but also on long-distance KiwiRail Scenic passenger trains, Metlink suburban trains in Wellington operated by Tranz Metro, and Auckland Transport suburban trains in Auckland operated by Transdev.

History[edit]

The TranzAlpine, hauled by two DC class locomotives skirting the Waimakariri River
DCP 4818 leaving Port Napier with a freight train in April 2007

The locomotives started life as DA class, built by General Motors Canada between 1955 and 1967. Between 1978 and 1983, 85 of the later-build DAs were rebuilt as EMD model G22AR, designated as the DC class, with upgraded engines, new cabs and low short hoods of a style similar to the DX class introduced earlier in the 1970s and the DF class being introduced at the time. Five were rebuilt at the Hutt Workshops near Wellington and the other 80 at Clyde Engineering in Australia.

Technical details[edit]

Each locomotive has a General Motors 12-645C or 12-645E V12 diesel engine (the same as originally fitted to the DF class) and four traction motors, with an authorised maximum speed of 100 km/h. They are 14 metres long, has a height of 3756 mm (12 ft 4in) and weighs 82 tonnes. They can be readily identified as they are considerably shorter than the DF and DX classes and have their paired headlights arranged horizontally, rather than vertically on the DFs.

The five 49-series Hutt-built DCs originally retained the 12-567 engine, before later receiving the 12-645.

In service[edit]

History[edit]

The class was initially employed in the North Island, mainly on freight trains but also hauling either carriage trains or depowered 88-seater railcars.

Changes came during the 1980s; the deregulation of land transport saw rail freight volumes decline and the opening of the NIMT electrification saw the locomotive fleet reallocated. These factors saw the withdrawal between 1985 and 1989 of the DJ class and remaining DA class, with the DC class also seeing regular service in the lower South Island as a result.

Current[edit]

The class continues to be a major workhorse, operating either as single units or in multiple with other DC units or locomotives from the DBR, DFT, DX or the new DL classes.

The class is used on KiwiRail Scenic services in the South Island on the TranzAlpine and Coastal Pacific, and was used on the North Island's Northern Explorer until being replaced by a DFT unit. A pair of units are also occasionally employed to haul the Capital Connection service.

The Northern Explorer’s predecessor, the Overlander, was usually hauled on the northern and southern sections of the NIMT by a DC locomotive, and was often used across the central section as well if an EF locomotive was unavailable.

Auckland Transport service[edit]

For several years the class has been employed on suburban carriage trains in Auckland. Since 2003 the operation has been run under a service contract by Transdev Auckland and its predecessors, through firstly the former Auckland Regional Transport Authority (ARTA) and now through the Auckland Council subsidiary Auckland Transport.

Currently 21 DC/DCP locomotives – along with three DFT/B units – are leased to Auckland Transport, operating in push-pull mode with Auckland Transport's ex-BR Mark 2 SA/SD cars. Originally the DC units were configured with a set of 3 SA cars and a SD driving car, but with an increase in rail patronage longer trains were provided on the Southern and Eastern lines. These trains are in sets of four SA cars and a SD driving car with a DC locomotive.[1] 17 of the leased locomotives are painted in MAXX blue livery, with the other four units – DC 4104, DC 4260, DC 4346 and DCP 4818 – in KiwiRail livery. All locomotives in service with Auckland Transport have been fitted with Electronic Train Protection (ETP) equipment.

Tranz Metro[edit]

The class hauls Metlink's Wairarapa Connection services between Masterton and Wellington. The locomotives are allocated on a daily basis, rather than being permanently assigned as is the case in Auckland. Five services are operated each way on weekdays, three of these arriving or departing Wellington at peak times, with an additional service each way on Friday night and two services each way on Saturday, Sunday and public holidays. The consists comprise Greater Wellington Regional Council's ex-BR Mark 2 SE and SW carriages.

Numbering[edit]

Initially the class was numbered sequentially from DC 1551 (the DA class having ended at 1545, the DF class started at 1651). In 1980 the computerised Traffic Management System (TMS) was introduced and the class was renumbered with a four-digit number commencing with '4', with the last digit a check number. The 49 Clyde-built units were renumbered in sequence with DC 1551 becoming DC 4006 and DC 1599 becoming DC 4536, though only the first 31 (up to DC 1581) had entered service by that time. The remaining Clyde builds received TMS numbers through to 4876 as they entered the rebuilding, while DC 1582–1589 entered service with their original 15xx series numbers on the headlight number boards and the later 40xx TMS numbers on the long hood.[2]

Initially the Hutt-built units retained their DA-sequence TMS numbers, as the Railways considered them to be DA locomotives as they retained the 12-567 engine. Eventually this decision was changed and they became DC 4916-DC 4951, with 4882 and 4899 not used to keep them in a separate number sub-series.

Livery[edit]

The class were delivered in the International Orange or "Fruit Salad" livery – orange/red, grey, and yellow with large white numbers on the long hood – which was the standard livery for NZ Railways until the late 1980s. The class has since collectively worn almost every other single livery introduced since then, although some examples still wear the original Fruit Salad livery in service today. Liveries worn by the class are:

  • International Orange (Fruit Salad) - The livery as introduced. DCs 4409, 4277 and 4876 still wear this livery in service as of 2014; DC 4409 is notable as having received a large touch-up of its paint job in this scheme in 2012.
  • Flying Tomato - A variation of Fruit Salad, where orange was substituted for the grey. Some locomotives which received this paint scheme were later painted back in Fruit Salad. No DCs still wear this livery.
  • NZ Rail Blue - The DC class were the first to debut this livery in 1988, with the orange replaced by a mid-blue and either "NZ Rail" or "New Zealand Railways" on the long hood with numbers painted on the cab sides. Later in the Tranz Rail era, some locomotives received Cato Blue sticker patches over the long hood lettering with the Tranz Rail logo attached. No in-service DCs wear this livery, although DC 4231 and DC 4352 are stored at Hutt Workshops in the Tranz Rail patched version of this livery.
  • Cato Blue - A variation of NZ Rail Blue upon the launch of "Tranz Rail" in late 1995, where a sky-blue colour (Cato Blue) replaced the mid-blue and the Tranz Rail "winged" logo was placed on the long hood. Later the rights to Cato Blue were sold to Tranz Scenic 2001, and a number of their DCPs received repaints in the livery but with the Tranz Scenic logo in place of the Tranz Rail logo. A number of DCs still wear the Tranz Rail example of this livery.
  • Bumble Bee - DC 4323 was the first locomotive to wear this livery, which consisted of the long hood being black, with the hood end, short hood and cab painted yellow. The first two DCs wore the Tranz Rail winged logo on the long hood Later locomotives instead had block "TR" letters in yellow on the long hood. A number of DCs still wear this livery.
  • MAXX Blue - A variation of Bumble Bee with dark blue on the long hood (with MAXX logo displayed), although with black long hood top and without the extended yellow rear area on the long hood. DC 4444 has a variation where large numerals similar to the Fruit Salad livery are displayed on the long hood in the place of the MAXX logo, and nothing on the cab sides. The livery was for locomotives leased to ARTA to operate suburban services in Auckland.
  • Toll Green (Corncob) - A variation of Bumble Bee where Toll Green was substituted for the black, a lemon yellow replaced the former yellow colour used and the Toll Logo displayed on the long hood in addition to Toll logos on each end of the loco with three green whisker stripes. Later after Toll sold their stake in the railways in 2008, KiwiRail patch stickers were placed over the Toll logos. DCP 4830 is the last DC to wear this livery in service.
  • KiwiRail Phase 1 (KiwiFruit) - The first introduced KiwiRail livery, with DC 4260 being the only example to receive it.
  • KiwiRail Phase 2 (KiwiRail Bold) - The revised livery, which is now the most common livery on the class.

In addition, DC 4093 wore a special one-off "Kiwi Lager" livery to go with the Kiwi Lager Ski train, and DC 4346 was one of two locomotives to wear a brown with yellow ends "Tasman Forestry" livery.

DCP subclass[edit]

The DCP sub-class was established in 2002 to differentiate locomotives owned by Tranz Scenic 2001 Ltd from those owned by Tranz Rail Ltd. The DCP classification was retained on these locomotives after the purchase of Tranz Scenic 2001 by Toll NZ, and continues to be used by KiwiRail. Further units have since received the classification, though it now refers to those DC locomotives that have been fitted with bogie retention wire ropes to stop the bogies falling off in derailments, rather than locomotives dedicated to passenger workings.

Upgrades[edit]

DC Micro[edit]

In May, 1988, trials were carried out using GE's BrightStar control system on DC 4588 and DC 4939, which were unsuccessful. In November 1988, DC 4588 was fitted with the locally developed DC Micro wheelslip system, similar to the system then used on Massey-Fergusson tractors. The system substantially enhanced traction on the bogies, maximising traction potential. DC 4939 followed in December 1988 and was also a success. Over the next 10 years, 64 DC locomotives had DC Micro fitted.

Locolog and Tranzlog[edit]

Locolog was an event recorder system similar to a black box on aircraft. It was trialed successfully in 1986 on DC 4070 and DC 4778 before being fitted to all other main-line locomotives. It has since been supplanted by the locally-produced Tranzlog system, with both systems having provided significant material to assist in accident investigations.

Withdrawals[edit]

As of October 2014, 26 units have been withdrawn from service. DCs 4006, 4087, 4202, 4657, 4686, 4703, 4749, 4778 and 4824 were all withdrawn as a result of accidents, while DCs 4029, 4064, 4070, 4127, 4133, 4162, 4179, 4225, 4231, 4283, 4398, 4507, 4542, 4565, 4640 and 4784 were withdrawn on account of being surplus to requirements or poor mechanical condition. DC 4496 was taken out of service for an experimental rebuild that was later cancelled.

DCs 4029, 4070, 4133, 4225, 4231, 4352, 4398, 4507, 4542, 4640 and 4784 are in outside storage. 4029, 4352, 4398, 4507, 4640 and 4874 are being used for spare parts. The other units have all been scrapped. DCs 4041, 4110, 4248, 4254, 4323, 4369, 4381, 4444, 4594, 4732, 4876, 4916, 4922, 4939, 4951 and DCPs 4818 and 4945 were withdrawn in the late 1990s or early 2000s, but have since returned to service. 10 DCs and 1 DCP were returned to service for the push/pull suburban trains in Auckland, with SA and SD carriages from Britain. DCs 4133 and 4784 were withdrawn in February 2014 and October 2013 respectively, and were returned to service after the DL class was sidelined in March 2014.[3] The locomotives were withdrawn again in June 2014 and are now stored at Hutt Workshops. DCs 4064 and 4283 awaits to arrive at Hutt.

The final withdrawn locomotive, DC 4588, was shipped to Tasmania (along with QR class locomotives) in December 1998 for use on TasRail, then part-owned by Tranz Rail and its parent Wisconsin Central through the Australian Transport Network. The locomotive was purchased outright by TasRail after an initial period used lease, but was placed into storage in October 2002 after suffering an engine problem and was sold for scrap in 2011.[4]

Future[edit]

The electrification of the Auckland suburban network will see the Auckland Transport locomotives replaced by 57 three-car EMUs owned by Auckland Transport from 2014 onwards, while the announcement in June 2011 of the purchase of a further 20 DL class locomotives (since delivered and in service) the statement that they will replace existing locomotives on a one-for-two basis. With the DC class being both the most numerous and oldest in service they would seem the most likely to see a reduction in operating numbers,[original research?] which has already commenced with the units now being stored at Hutt. However it can be expected that a number of locomotives will be retained to meet continuing requirements.[citation needed]

Class register[edit]

Key: In service Out of service Auckland Transport service Preserved Overhaul/Repair Scrapped
TMS number Original number[n 1] Rebuilt from (DA) Introduced[n 2] Withdrawn Current livery[n 3] Allocated Notes
DC 4006 Dc 1551 Da 1525 March 1978 August 1999 International Orange North Island Withdrawn and scrapped after accident at Westmere (north of Wanganui).[6]
DC 4012 Dc 1552 Da 1532 March 1978 KiwiRail North Island Appeared in Railfreight television commercial as DC 1552
DC 4029 DC 1553 DA 1533 April 1978 February 2014 International Orange South Island Laid up due to body corrosion.[6] Stored at Hutt Workshops as a source of parts.
DC 4035 DC 1554 DA 1501 April 1978 MAXX Blue North Island Named Jo
DC 4041 DC 1555 DA 1507 May 1978 KiwiRail North Island
DC 4058 DC 1556 DA 1504 July 1978 KiwiRail North Island
DC 4064 DC 1557 DA 1512 July 1978 October 2014 International Orange North Island Stored at Hutt Workshops.
DC 4070 DC 1558 DA 1514 August 1978 August 2014 International Orange North Island Stored at Hutt Workshops.
DC 4087 DC 1559 DA 1515 August 1978 July 1992 Flying Tomato North Island Derailed at Ngaruawahia in June 1992. Scrapped.[6]
DC 4093 DC 1560 DA 1523 September 1978 MAXX Blue North Island Former KiwiLager livery 1987 – 1992.
DC 4104 DC 1561 DA 1520 October 1978 KiwiRail North Island Second DC to receive KiwiRail livery. First to receive Phase 2.
DC 4110 DC 1562 DA 1509 September 1978 Tranz Rail Blue South Island
DC 4127 DC 1563 DA 1521 December 1978 November 1999 International Orange North Island Scrapped.[6]
DC 4133 DC 1564 DA 1519 October 1978 June 2014 International Orange South Island Withdrawn due to general condition.[6] Stored at Hutt Workshops.
DC 4156 DC 1565 DA 1513 October 1978 KiwiRail North Island
DC 4162 DC 1566 DA 1478 November 1978 May 2001 Tranz Rail Blue North Island Withdrawn after electrical fire. Scrapped.[6]
DC 4179 DC 1567 DA 1511 December 1978 March 2003 International Orange North Island Withdrawn due to body condition. Scrapped.[6]
DC 4185 DC 1568 DA 1500 December 1978 Tranz Rail Black ("Bumble-Bee") North Island
DC 4191 DC 1569 DA 1508 December 1978 KiwiRail North Island
DC 4202 DC 1570 DA 1535 April 1979 October 1999 Tranz Rail Blue South Island Written off after head-on collision at Waipahi, Otago on 20 October 1999. Scrapped.[6]
DC 4219 DC 1571 DA 1527 February 1979 Tranz Rail Blue North Island
DC 4225 DC 1572 DA 1506 February 1979 May 2014 International Orange North Island Stored at Hutt Workshops.[6]
DC 4231 DC 1573 DA 1529 April 1979 March 2014 Tranz Rail Blue North Island Nicknamed Chop Suey. Withdrawn due to engine condition.[6] Stored at Hutt Workshops.
DC 4248 DC 1574 DA 1502 March 1979 MAXX Blue North Island
DC 4254 DC 1575 DA 1455 February 1979 MAXX Blue North Island Named Elena.
DC 4260 DC 1576 DA 1531 May 1979 KiwiRail Phase 1 North Island First DC to receive KiwiRail livery. Only DC to receive Phase 1.
DCP 4277 DC 1577 DA 1483 May 1979 International Orange South Island
DC 4283 DC 1578 DA 1493 May 1979 December 2014 Tranz Rail Blue North Island Stored at Hutt Workshops.
DC 4300 DC 1579 DA 1518 June 1979 Tranz Rail Black ("Bumble-Bee") North Island
DC 4317 DC 1580 DA 1470 Jul 1979 Tranz Rail Black ("Bumble-Bee") North Island
DC 4323 DC 1581 DA 1490 May 1979 KiwiRail North Island First DC to receive Black ("Bumble-Bee") livery.
DC 4346 DC 1582[n 4] DA 1536 September 1979 KiwiRail North Island Tasman Forestry livery 1991 – 1994.
DC 4352 DC 1583[n 4] DA 1528 August 1979 June 2014 Tranz Rail Blue North Island Stored at Hutt Workshops as a source of parts.
DC 4369 DC 1584[n 4] DA 1510 October 1979 MAXX Blue North Island
DC 4375 DC 1585[n 4] DA 1540 September 1979 MAXX Blue North Island Named Catherine
DC 4381 DC 1586[n 4] DA 1544 August 1979 MAXX Blue North Island Named The Fat Girl.
DC 4398 DC 1587[n 4] DA 1542 October 1979 July 2014 Tranz Rail Black ("Bumble-Bee") South Island Stored at Hutt Workshops as a source of parts.
DC 4409 DC 1588[n 4] DA 1543 September 1979 International Orange South Island
DC 4415 DC 1589[n 4] DA 1530 September 1979 MAXX Blue North Island Named Gwendoline
DC 4421 DC 1590[n 4] DA 1441 October 1979 Tranz Rail Black ("Bumble-Bee") South Island Has a KiwiRail sticker on the nose and tail, and a different font for cabside numbers
DC 4438 DC 1591[n 4] DA 1503 November 1979 Tranz Rail Black ("Bumble-Bee") South Island
DC 4444 DC 1592[n 4] DA 1526 November 1979 MAXX Blue North Island Former technology test train, non-standard livery.[n 5] Named Elena T.
DCP 4450 DC 1593[n 4] DA 1458 December 1979 KiwiRail South Island
DC 4467 DC 1594[n 4] DA 1541 December 1979 KiwiRail North Island
DC 4473 DC 1595[n 4] DA 1497 March 1980 Tranz Rail Black ("Bumble-Bee") South Island
DC 4496 DC 1596[n 4] DA 1534 March 1980 November 1999 Tranz Rail Blue North Island Withdrawn after main generator failure. Scrapped.[6]
DC 4507 DC 1597[n 4] DA 1545 April 1980 January 2013 Tranz Rail Blue North Island Damaged in level crossing accident at Woodville in November 2012. Withdrawn in January 2013.[6] Stored at Hutt Workshops.
DCP 4513 DC 1598[n 4] DA 1446 April 1980 KiwiRail South Island
DC 4536 DC 1599[n 4] DA 1505 July 1980 MAXX Blue North Island
DC 4542 DA 1537 July 1980 November 2013 Tranz Rail Blue South Island Withdrawn due to general condition.[6]
DCP 4559 DA 1539 May 1980 KiwiRail South Island
DC 4565 DA 1464 July 1980 December 2014 Tranz Rail Black ("Bumble-Bee") North Island
DC 4571 DA 1522 July 1980 KiwiRail North Island
DC 4588 DA 1489 August 1980 December 1998 Tranz Rail Blue North Island Shipped to Tasmania in December 1998, later sold to TasRail. Scrapped in 2011.[4]
DC 4594 DA 1538 September 1980 KiwiRail North Island
DCP 4605 DA 1524 September 1980 KiwiRail North Island
DCP 4611 DA 1498 September 1980 KiwiRail North Island
DCP 4628 DA 1491 November 1980 KiwiRail South Island
DCP 4634 DA 1474 December 1980 KiwiRail North Island
DC 4640 DA 1466 December 1980 June 2013 Tranz Rail Blue South Island Withdrawn from service on 25 June 2013 due to main generator failure.[6] Stored at Hutt Workshops as a source of parts.
DC 4657 DA 1477 December 1980 July 2002 Tranz Rail Blue North Island Scrapped following heavy damage sustained in fatal derailment at Te Wera in July 2002.[6]
DCP 4663 DA 1488 December 1980 MAXX Blue North Island
DC 4686 DA 1465 December 1980 January 2002 International Orange South Island Scrapped after derailing into the Rangitata River due to a washout on 4 January 2002.[6]
DC 4692 DA 1480 March 1981 KiwiRail North Island
DC 4703 DA 1472 February 1981 March 1992 International Orange South Island Withdrawn after derailment at Hornby in March 1992.[6]
DC 4726 DA 1494 April 1981 KiwiRail South Island
DC 4732 DA 1499 March 1981 MAXX Blue North Island At Hutt Workshops following a derailment at Westfield on 2 March 2014.[7][not in citation given]
DC 4749 DA 1495 March 1981 July 2000 Tranz Rail Blue North Island Derailed at Edgecumbe on 2 March 1987 by an earthquake. Derailed at Te Maunga in July 2000 due to train control error, resulting in the train entering junction turn at excessive speed.[6][8]
DCP 4755 DA 1496 February 1981 Tranz Rail Blue South Island
DCP 4761 DA 1469 November 1981 KiwiRail South Island
DC 4778 DA 1487 November 1982 March 1992 International Orange South Island Withdrawn after derailment at Hornby in March 1992[6]
DC 4784 DA 1476 December 1982 June 2014 Tranz Rail Blue South Island Withdrawn due to general condition.[6] Stored at Hutt Workshops as a source of parts.
DC 4790 DA 1482 February 1983 KiwiRail North Island
DCP 4801 DA 1484 March 1983 KiwiRail South Island
DCP 4818 DA 1481 April 1983 KiwiRail North Island
DC 4824 DA 1486 June 1983 January 2001 International Orange South Island Written-off after level crossing collision while hauling the Southerner 8 January 2001.[6]
DCP 4830 DA 1516 July 1983 Toll Rail ("Corn Cob") North Island
DC 4847 DA 1475 August 1983 Tranz Rail Black ("Bumble-Bee") South Island
DC 4853 DA 1485 September 1983 Tranz Rail Black ("Bumble-Bee") South Island
DC 4876 DA 1492 November 1983 International Orange South Island
DC 4916 DA 1453 August 1980 MAXX Blue North Island
DC 4922 DA 1479 December 1980 MAXX Blue North Island
DC 4939 DA 1457 March 1981 MAXX Blue North Island
DCP 4945 DA 1456 August 1981 MAXX Blue North Island
DC 4951 DA 1459 December 1981 MAXX Blue North Island
  1. ^ a b Not all DC class received the original numbers, as TMS was introduced in 1980, halfway during the rebuilding.
  2. ^ Introduction dates are from when the locomotive first ran as a DC class locomotive, not New Zealand DA class locomotive.
  3. ^ Livery is from latest information posted on New Zealand Railtrack.[5]
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r 1582 to 1599 were allocated to these units but not displayed on the locomotives, which were delivered to New Zealand with new TMS numbers already applied.
  5. ^ Locomotive number displayed on long hood in place of MAXX, instead of on the cab.

In popular culture[edit]

  • In the 1981 film Goodbye Pork Pie, DC 1582 (later DC 4346) hauls a down (westbound) Midland Line freight train including the box wagon in which Gerry, John, and the yellow Mini were hiding.
  • In the penulimate scene of the 1982 film Smash Palace, DC 4202 hauls an up (northbound) North Island Main Trunk freight train, which appears to be about to crash into a Model T Ford containing Al Shaw and policeman Ray Foley, but at the last second the train enters the crossing loop, missing them.
  • DC 4790 made two appearances in Yogi Bear: The Movie.

References[edit]

External links[edit]