Diesel Traction Group (NZ)

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The Diesel Traction Group (DTG) is the Christchurch-based operator of a fleet of ex-New Zealand Railways Department diesel-electric locomotives. The fleet represents a full collection of New Zealand locomotive classes built by the English Electric Company and is a historically significant collection of early New Zealand diesel traction. All of the DTG's locomotives are owned by individual members through the sale of shareholdings.


The DTG was formed in September 1983 to preserve one of the DG class locomotives that were being withdrawn from service at the time.[1][2] DG 772 (TMS DG 2255) was purchased from NZR and moved to Ferrymead on 17 October 1983.[3] During 1984, the DTG investigated purchasing a second DG, this time one of the ten that were fitted with a new cab during their last major overhaul in the early 1980s, but the proposal did not proceed.[4][5]

In 1988, DG 772 was upgraded to main line mechanical certification condition, repainted in its original colour scheme and used in the Ferrymead 125 celebrations, including a mainline excursion to Springfield.[6] Further mainline charters to Dunedin, Clyde and Arthurs Pass followed.

The Group's second locomotive was Drewry TR 22 (TMS TR 91), one of the early designs of the TR class which entered service in 1939.[7] It was offered for sale by tender and was delivered to Ferrymead in July 1985 without an engine or transmission.[8] These vital items of equipment were purchased separately from NZR stores the following year and after installation into the locomotive, it was recommissioned into service a year after its arrival.[9][10] TR 22 was then placed on lease to the Ferrymead Railway as a light shunter, and was later sold to the railway's operators.

In November 1987, the Group's members purchased two DE class locomotives, DE's 511 and 512 (TMS DE 1412 and DE 1429), from Dunedin where they had been recently withdrawn from shunting duties. They were delivered to Ferrymead with other rolling stock the same month.[11] DE 511 was repainted in the original colours[12] and certified to mainline mechanical standard for participation in the Ferrymead 125 event the following year, which included shared operation of the Springfield excursion with DG 772.[13] Following this, DE 511 was used occasionally in service on the Ferrymead Railway. DE 1429 retained its latter-day TMS number and colours in preservation, and had its engine overhauled in 1989-1990.[14] It is in regular use on a variety of duties at Ferrymead.

In 1989, the DTG purchased DI class locomotive DI 1102 (TMS DI 1820), along with a number of spare parts and a complete diesel engine from class leader DI 1100 (TMS DI 1808), which was then being scrapped at Hutt Workshops. Following the completion of DG 772 in 2009, the DTG has turned their attention to restoring this locomotive to working order for use on the main line.[15]

In 2009, the DTG was named as the custodians of FRONZ's English Electric DF class locomotive, DF 1501, after it was removed from its plinth in Auckland at the request of the site owners, scrap dealer Sims PMI. The locomotive was towed south in January 2009, and the DTG have stated their intention is to restore DF 1501 to working order at some time in the future. At present, the locomotive is receiving preventative maintenance, and will be displayed in the National Railway Museum of New Zealand.


The DTG is based at Ferrymead Heritage Park, and their locomotives are used on passenger trains and heavy shunting services on the Ferrymead Railway. In the past, the group's locomotives have also ventured out onto other heritage/tourist railways and charters on the national rail network or visited other heritage railways. The DTG is a member of the Federation of Rail Organisations of New Zealand.

DTG Fleet[edit]


Key: In service In service, Mainline Certified Under overhaul/restoration/repair Stored Static display Scrapped
Original Class and Number TMS Number Builder Builders Number Year Built Arrived Notes
DE 511 DE 1412 English Electric 1749 1951 November 1987 Entered service on 20 August 1952. Renumbered as DE 1412 circa 1978 and overhauled about 1981/2 at Hillside Workshops where it was fitted with a Mark II engine from a DG class loco. It was withdrawn in November 1987 and sold to the DTG. Repainted in the traditional NZR red with white stripes for the Ferrymead 125 celebrations. Used until 1995 when it was taken out of service due to a worn engine. Even though it can still be operated, there would need to be a lot of work undertaken on the brake system, engine fluids and new batteries. It is now on display in the groups shelter.
DE 512 DE 1429 English Electric 1750 1951 November 1987 Entered service on 6 November 1952. Overhauled in 1980 at the East Town Workshops where it became the first of the class to be fitted with a Mark II engine from a DG class loco, new cab side windows were also installed, renumbered as DE 1429 and repainted in the "International Orange". It was withdrawn in November 1987 and sold to the DTG. Restored and repainted in the same livery in 1994. It participated in the 2001 Waipara Vintage Festival. Used occasionally on the Ferrymead Railway. It is now on long-term loan to the Weka Pass Railway until their DSA 276 is returned to service.
DF 1501 English Electric 1927 1954 January 28, 2009 Entered service in July 1954. Renumbered as DF 1301 in November 1965 to allow the 15xx number series to be used on the Phase III DA class locomotives then entering service. It was withdrawan on 21 June 1975 and sold to the Federation of Rail Organisations of New Zealand. Displayed at Pacific Steel, Otahuhu until 17 August 2008 it was removed from the site of the request of the site owners. 1501 was transferred by rail to Ferrymead in January 2009, and arrived on the 28 of that month. It is planned to be the next restoration project after DI 1102 is complete.
DG 772 DG 2255 English Electric 2276/D355 1955 1983 Entered service in August 1956 as DH 772. Reclassified in 1968 as a DG. It was renumbered as DG 2255 circa 1978 and repainted in the "International Orange" livery. Withdrawn on 16 May 1983 and sold to the DTG later that year. In 1988, it was restored up to mainline standards and repainted in the traditional NZR red with white stripes for the Ferrymead 125 celebrations. In 1995, 772 was placed on loan to the Weka Pass Railway, due to their DG 770 being out of service. Between 2003 and 2009, the loco was fully overhauled to current mainline standard, which included fitting of ditchlights. In October 2009, it participated in the Otago Central Railway celebrations. DG has ran several excursions since being rebuilt.
DI 1102 DI 1820 English Electric A121 1966 September 1992 Entered service in June 1966. Extensively damaged after derailing in the Karangahake Gorge with DI 1100 in August 1976 and repaired at East Town Workshops. Renumbered as DI 1820 circa 1978 and repainted into the "International Orange" livery. It was withdrawn in May 1989 and later sold to the DTG in 1991. It arrived at Ferrymead in September 1992 and restoration began in 2009 to mainline standards. It is the only surviving ex-NZR diesel locomotive in preservation to have been built at English Electrics Rocklea plant.


The DTG also possesses a small collection of five ex-NZR goods wagons, several of which are loaned by the Rail Heritage Trust.

Key: In Service In Service, Main Line Certified Under Overhaul/Restoration Stored Static Display Scrapped
Original number TMS number Builder Type Notes
KS 4370 KS 10382 NZR Hutt Workshops Steel-bodied four-wheeled box wagon. Sliding load doors. KS-2 variant.
LC 43098 LC 55593 Steel-bodied four-wheeled 'highsider' wagon. LC-3 variant. Parked in the DTG shelter, and holds a spare EE 6CSKRT diesel engine (ex-DI 1808).
VB 306 VB 75 Wooden-bodied bogie frozen meat wagon. VB-1 variant, built in 1925. Arrived in 2003.
Z 330 Z 806 Wooden-bodied bogie 'roadsider' goods wagon. Z-14 variant, built in 1941 for use on express trains. Z 330 is fitted with x-25330 'Timken' roller bearing bogies, allowing maximum speeds of 80km/h when used on express duties.
ZP 1083 ZP 5260 Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, 1968. Steel-bodied bogie box wagon. Sliding load doors. Later became ZP 14744. Owned by the Rail Heritage Trust, and arrived in 2003. Used as the group's support wagon.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Branch Lines (newsletter of the Canterbury Branch NZRLS), June 1983
  2. ^ Branch Lines, September 1983
  3. ^ Branch Lines, October 1983
  4. ^ Branch Lines, March 1984
  5. ^ Diesel Traction Group Newsletter, No.1
  6. ^ Diesel Traction Group Newsletter, No.20
  7. ^ NZR Locomotives and Railcars 1983
  8. ^ Branch Lines, July 1985
  9. ^ Branch Lines, August 1986
  10. ^ Diesel Traction Group Newsletter, No.11
  11. ^ Diesel Traction Group Newsletter, No.15
  12. ^ Diesel Traction Group Newsletter, No.16
  13. ^ Diesel Traction Group Newsletter, No.20
  14. ^ Diesel Traction Group newsletter, No.21, 22, 23, 24
  15. ^ DTG Website
  16. ^ http://www.nzrsr.co.nz/view_page.php?search=true

External links[edit]