ADK/ADB class diesel multiple unit

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ADK/ADB class railcar
ADK 687 approaching Britomart.jpg
ADK 687 and another unit approaching Britomart near the end of their service in 2014.
In service Australia: 1967-1993,
New Zealand: 1993-2014
Manufacturer ADK: Commonwealth Engineering
ADB: Western Australian Government Railways
Built at ADK: Granville
ADB: Midland Railway Workshops
Replaced Australia: WAGR Dd class & carriages
New Zealand: 56-foot carriages
Constructed 1967-1968
Entered service Australia: 1968
New Zealand: 1993
Refurbishment 2007
Number built 10 sets
Number in service 0 sets
Formation Australia: ADK+ADB
New Zealand: ADK+ADB+ADB+ADK
(originally ADK+ADB)
Fleet numbers ADK 681–ADK 690
ADB 771–ADB 780
Capacity ADK: 74, ADB: 64
Operator(s) Australia:
Western Australian Government Railways, Westrail
New Zealand:
Tranz Metro, Transdev Auckland
Depot(s) Australia: Claisebrook
New Zealand: Westfield
Line(s) served Australia:
New Zealand:
Eastern Line
Southern Line
Western Line
Car body construction ADK: 20.20 m (66 ft 3 in)
ADB: 15.85 m (52 ft 0 in)
Train length 37.75 m (123 ft 10 in) per two-car unit
Car length ADK: 21.09 m (69 ft 2 in) over couplers
ADB: 16.66 m (54 ft 8 in) over couplers
Width 2.74 m (9 ft 0 in)
Height 3.92 m (12 ft 10 in)
Floor height 1.1 m (3 ft 7 in)
Entry 1.1 m (3 ft 7 in)
Doors Air-operated sliding doors, 2 pairs each side (ADK), one pair each side (ADB), 0.915 m wide
Maximum speed 90 km/h (56 mph)
Weight ADK: 33.3 t (32.8 long tons; 36.7 short tons)
ADB: 15.8 t (15.6 long tons; 17.4 short tons)
Prime mover(s) 2 x Cummins
Power output ADK: 2 x 155 kW (208 hp), one engine per bogie
Transmission Diesel-hydraulic
Auxiliaries ADB: diesel alternator in former cab (one per four-car set)
Train heating Heating only
UIC classification 1A-A1+2'2'
Braking system(s) Electro-pneumatic
Coupling system Australia: Norwegian coupling
NZ: Kidney link & pin
Multiple working Within class only
Track gauge 1,067 mm (3 ft 6 in)

The ADK class were a class of diesel multiple units that were last operated by Transdev Auckland on Auckland's suburban rail network. Originally built by Commonwealth Engineering and the Midland Railway Workshops for the Western Australian Government Railways in the late 1960s, all but one were sold in 1993 to New Zealand Rail, and were then owned by Auckland Transport. The units were completely withdrawn from service on 5 December 2014, following completion of electrification of Auckland's network.


In 1967 and 1968 ten two-carriage stainless steel sets were manufactured for the Western Australian Government Railways. Each set consisted of an ADK power car manufactured by Commonwealth Engineering, and an ADB trailer built by the WAGR's Midland Railway Workshops. The ADK cars were manufactured in Granville and railed via Melbourne and Adelaide requiring a change of bogies at each of these locations and again at Kalgoorlie.[1][2]

Following the electrification of the Perth rail network they were rendered surplus and in 1993 all except ADK 689 were sold, along with the newer ADL/ADC class, to New Zealand Rail to replace 56-foot carriages on suburban trains in Auckland.[1][2][3] In October 1993, prior to being privatised, New Zealand Rail sold the class to the Auckland Regional Council.[4]

In 2004 the ARC funded an upgrade, which included refurbishment of the interiors, painting in the new MAXX blue colour scheme and mechanical improvements to extend their life by 10 years. After the upgrade they ran as four-car rather than two-car sets. All were refurbished except ADB 773 (in use at Lock 'n' Load paintball arena) and ADK 689 (which did not move to New Zealand). Westrail planned on converting ADK 689 to a self-propelled track inspection carriage, however this did not eventuate.

Unlike the ADL/ADC class and SA sets, the units have not been fitted with Electronic Train Protection (ETP) equipment, owing to their imminent replacement by the AM class. All are scheduled for withdrawal by late 2014.[5]

As of 15 September 2014, all services on the Manukau Line are operated by the AM class. As a result of this, all ADK units were placed into warm storage. Services to Papakura formerly run by ADKs are now run by ADLs, also displaced from the Manukau Line. A farewell trip was run by the Railway Enthusiasts Society on 16 November 2014, running on every suburban line in Auckland.[citation needed] The units were completely withdrawn on 20 July 2015. In August 2017 eight units were shipped to Mozambique,[6] with one unit being purchased by the New Zealand Special Air Services.

Status list[edit]

Key: In service On lease Out of service Preserved Overhaul or repair Scrapped
Number Introduced in NZ Current status Current livery Notes
ADK 681 July 1993 Withdrawn MAXX Blue (old photo)
ADK 682 July 1993 Withdrawn MAXX Blue
ADK 683 July 1993 Withdrawn MAXX Blue
ADK 684 July 1993 Withdrawn MAXX Blue
ADK 685 July 1993 Withdrawn MAXX Blue
ADK 686 July 1993 Withdrawn MAXX Blue
ADK 687 July 1993 Withdrawn MAXX Blue
ADK 688 July 1993 Withdrawn MAXX Blue
ADK 689 - Withdrawn Transperth red front Stripped for parts.
ADK 690 July 1993 Withdrawn MAXX Blue Sold to the New Zealand Special Air Service.[citation needed]
ADB 771 July 1993 Withdrawn MAXX Blue (old photo)
ADB 772 July 1993 Withdrawn MAXX Blue
ADB 773 Withdrawn Transperth red front At Lock 'n' Load paintball arena.
ADB 774 July 1993 Withdrawn MAXX Blue
ADB 775 July 1993 Withdrawn MAXX Blue
ADB 776 July 1993 Withdrawn MAXX Blue
ADB 777 July 1993 Withdrawn MAXX Blue
ADB 773 July 1993 Withdrawn MAXX Blue Originally ADB 778; paired with ADK 683
ADB 778 July 1993 Withdrawn MAXX Blue Originally ADB 779; paired with ADK 688
ADB 780 July 1993 Withdrawn MAXX Blue Sold to the New Zealand Special Air Service.[citation needed]
ADK 688 & ADB 778 at Midland in December 1986 
An unrefurbished ADK at Papakura in June 2005 
Refurbished ADK 690 at Papakura in February 2007 



  1. ^ a b Gray, Bill; May, Andrew (2006). A History of WAGR Passenger Carriages. Perth: Bill Gray. pp. 298–303. ISBN 0-646-45902-3. 
  2. ^ a b Dunn, John (2010). Comeng: A History of Commonwealth Engineering Volume 3: 1966-1977. Kenthurst: Rosenberg Publishing. pp. 11–15. ISBN 9781877058905. 
  3. ^ Churchman & Hurst. The Railways of New Zealand. p. 64. 
  4. ^ ADK/ADL New Zealand Diesel & Electric Traction
  5. ^ "Railfan". 20 (3). Triple M Publications. June 2014. ISSN 1173-2229. 
  6. ^


  • Parsons, David. New Zealand Railway Motive Power 2002. 

External links[edit]

Media related to ADK/ADB class at Wikimedia Commons