New Zealand DC class locomotive
DCP 4801 and DC 4346 with a mainline shunt south of Christchurch.
The New Zealand DC class is a class of diesel-electric mainline locomotive on the New Zealand rail network, operated by KiwiRail on freight trains, and formerly on long-distance KiwiRail Scenic passenger trains. The class was rebuilt from the DA class in the late 1970s and early 1980s, mainly in Australia. After the DA class they were the most numerous class of diesel locomotive on New Zealand's railway network, and remained numerically dominant until the mid-2010s when withdrawals began.
- 1 History
- 2 Technical details
- 3 In service
- 4 DCP subclass
- 5 Upgrades
- 6 Withdrawals
- 7 Future
- 8 Class register
- 9 In popular culture
- 10 References
- 11 External links
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.
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.
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.
Auckland Transport service
For several years the class were 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.
Until July 2015 up to 20 DC/DCP locomotives – along with three DFB/T units – were 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 some longer trains were provided on the Southern and Eastern lines with the addition of a fourth SA car. 17 DC locomotives were painted in MAXX blue livery, with four other units that saw regular service with AT – DC 4104, DC 4260, DC 4346 and DCP 4818 – in KiwiRail livery, along with DC 4594 which was Toll-livered at the time. All locomotives in service with Auckland Transport were fitted with controls for the carriage doors, and later received Electronic Train Protection (ETP) equipment. One of the MAXX painted locomotives, DC 4732, was heavily damaged when it derailed at Westfield as an empty service on 2 March 2014.
Following the availability of sufficient numbers of the AM class EMUs to operate the Auckland network the majority of the diesel locomotives have been returned to KiwiRail, with a number of them being stored at Hutt Workshops.
The class is occasionally used on KiwiRail Scenics South Island Coastal Pacific, and was used on the North Islands Northern Explorer until being replaced by a DFB/T, DXB or occasionally a DXC unit and on the South Islands on the TranzAlpine until being replaced by two DXC units. 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 North Island Main Trunk by a DC locomotive, and was often used across the central section as well if an EF locomotive was unavailable.
The DC class previously hauled Wairarapa Connection services between Masterton and Wellington. The locomotives were allocated on a daily basis, rather than being permanently assigned as is the case in Auckland. In July 2015, the DFB class replaced the DC class hauling the service.
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.
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.
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. 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 1991, with the orange replaced by a mid-blue and either "NZ Rail" or "New Zealand Rail" 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 had a variation where large numerals similar to the Fruit Salad livery were 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.
- 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.
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 since received the classification, though it then referred to those DC locomotives that were fitted with bogie retention wire ropes to stop the bogies falling off in derailments, rather than locomotives dedicated to passenger workings. The practice of reclassifying has now been abandoned by KiwiRail, though most DCs, including all those used on Auckland commuter services, have received the bogie ropes.
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 Canadian ZTR wheelslip system. The system substantially enhanced traction on the bogies, maximising traction potential. DC 4628 followed in December 1988 and was also a success. Over the next 10 years, 64 DC locomotives had ZTR fitted.
Locolog and Tranzlog
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.
In 2014, six of the class were fitted with fire suppression to run passenger services through the 8.8-kilometre (5.5 mi) Rimutaka Tunnel on the Wairarapa Line due to a change in requirements resulting from the Commission of Inquiry in the Pike River Mine disaster. This was removed from these locomotives in mid-2015 and reinstalled into the DFB class locomotives which took over the haulage of these services. However, since it several (and others) have had the fire suppression refitted in order to provide locomotives for passenger charter services.
As of May 2017, 55 units have been withdrawn from service. Ten units were withdrawn as a result of accidents, while a further 37 units were withdrawn on account of being surplus to requirements or poor mechanical condition. One unit, DC 4496, was taken out of service for an experimental rebuild that was later cancelled.
39 of the withdrawn units are in outside storage, with the remainder scrapped. 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. In 2005 rebuilding commenced for reinstatement, but the rebuild fell through and the loco was sold for scrap in 2011 at East Tamar Workshops.
In February 2015 KiwiRail issued a Request for Quotation (RFQ) via the Government Electronic Tendering Service (GETS). The RFQ requests pricing for the disposal of a tranche of DC class locomotives, with further tranches of locomotives being released from the fleet over the next two years.
In July 2015 KiwiRail confirmed it had reached agreement with Progress Rail for the disposal of 12 DC locomotives - DCs 4029, 4070, 4133, 4225, 4231, 4352, 4398, 4507, 4542, 4640, 4732, and 4784 - with usable parts likely to be salvaged and the hulks scrapped.
|Key:||In service||On lease||Out of service||Preserved||Overhaul/Repair||Scrapped|
|TMS number||Original number[n 1]||Rebuilt from (DA)||Introduced[n 2]||Withdrawn||Current livery||Allocated||Notes|
|DC 4006||Dc 1551||Da 1525||March 1978||August 1999||Withdrawn and scrapped after accident at Westmere (north of Wanganui). Scrapped at Hutt Workshops in March 2003.|
|DC 4012||Dc 1552||Da 1532||March 1978||KiwiRail||South Island||Appeared in Railfreight television commercial as DC 1552|
|DC 4029||DC 1553||DA 1533||April 1978||February 2014||International Orange||Stored at Hutt Workshops.|
|DC 4035||DC 1554||DA 1501||April 1978||July 2015||MAXX Blue||Named Jo. Stored at Hutt Workshops.|
|DC 4041||DC 1555||DA 1507||May 1978||KiwiRail||Stored at Hutt Workshops.|
|DC 4058||DC 1556||DA 1504||July 1978||KiwiRail||North Island|
|DC 4064||DC 1557||DA 1512||July 1978||October 2014||International Orange||Stored at Hutt Workshops.|
|DC 4070||DC 1558||DA 1514||August 1978||August 2014||International Orange||Stored at Hutt Workshops.|
|DC 4087||DC 1559||DA 1515||August 1978||July 1992||Derailed at Ngaruawahia in June 1992. Scrapped at Hutt Workshops in March 2003.|
|DC 4093||DC 1560||DA 1523||September 1978||July 2015||MAXX Blue||Former KiwiLager livery 1987 – 1992. Stored at Hutt Workshops.|
|DC 4104||DC 1561||DA 1520||October 1978||March 2016||KiwiRail||Second DC to receive KiwiRail livery. First to receive Phase 2. Stored at Hutt Workshops.|
|DC 4110||DC 1562||DA 1509||September 1978||April 2015||Tranz Rail Blue||Stored at Hutt Workshops.|
|DC 4127||DC 1563||DA 1521||December 1978||November 1999||Scrapped at Hutt Workshops in February 2008.|
|DC 4133||DC 1564||DA 1519||October 1978||June 2014||International Orange||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||Scrapped at Hutt Workshops in February 2008.|
|DC 4179||DC 1567||DA 1511||December 1978||March 2003||Scrapped at Hutt Workshops in March 2003.|
|DC 4185||DC 1568||DA 1500||December 1978||June 2016||Tranz Rail Black ("Bumble-Bee")||Stored at Hutt Workshops.|
|DC 4191||DC 1569||DA 1508||December 1978||May 2016||KiwiRail||Stored at Hutt Workshops.|
|DC 4202||DC 1570||DA 1535||April 1979||November 1999||Written off after head-on collision at Waipahi, Otago on 20 October 1999. Withdrawn, November 1999. Scrapped on site a few days later.|
|DC 4219||DC 1571||DA 1527||February 1979||April 2016||Tranz Rail Blue||Stored at Hutt Workshops.|
|DC 4225||DC 1572||DA 1506||February 1979||May 2014||International Orange||Stored at Hutt Workshops.|
|DC 4231||DC 1573||DA 1529||April 1979||February 2014||Tranz Rail Blue||Nicknamed Chop Suey. Stored at Hutt Workshops.|
|DC 4248||DC 1574||DA 1502||March 1979||November 2015||MAXX Blue||Stored at Hutt Workshops.|
|DC 4254||DC 1575||DA 1455||February 1979||October 2016||MAXX Blue||Named Elena. Stored at Hutt Workshops.|
|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||May 2015||International Orange||Stored at Hutt Workshops.|
|DC 4283||DC 1578||DA 1493||May 1979||December 2014||Tranz Rail Blue||Stored at Hutt Workshops.|
|DC 4300||DC 1579||DA 1518||June 1979||September 2016||Tranz Rail Black ("Bumble-Bee")||Stored at Hutt Workshops.|
|DC 4317||DC 1580||DA 1470||July 1979||August 2015||Tranz Rail Black ("Bumble-Bee")||Stored at Hutt Workshops.|
|DC 4323||DC 1581||DA 1490||May 1979||KiwiRail||North Island||First DC to receive Black ("Bumble-Bee") livery.|
|DC 4346||DC 1582||DA 1536||September 1979||KiwiRail||South Island||Tasman Forestry livery 1991 – 1994.|
|DC 4352||DC 1583||DA 1528||August 1979||June 2014||Tranz Rail Blue||Stored at Hutt Workshops.|
|DC 4369||DC 1584||DA 1510||October 1979||July 2015||MAXX Blue||Stored at Hutt Workshops.|
|DC 4375||DC 1585||DA 1540||September 1979||July 2015||MAXX Blue||Named Catherine. Stored at Hutt Workshops.|
|DC 4381||DC 1586||DA 1544||August 1979||April 2015||MAXX Blue||Named The Fat Girl. Stored at Hutt Workshops.|
|DC 4398||DC 1587||DA 1542||October 1979||July 2014||Tranz Rail Black ("Bumble-Bee")||Stored at Hutt Workshops.|
|DC 4409||DC 1588||DA 1543||September 1979||International Orange||South Island|
|DC 4415||DC 1589||DA 1530||September 1979||July 2015||MAXX Blue||Named Gwendoline. Stored at Hutt Workshops.|
|DC 4421||DC 1590||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||DA 1503||November 1979||July 2015||Tranz Rail Black ("Bumble-Bee")||Stored at Hillside Workshops.|
|DC 4444||DC 1592||DA 1526||November 1979||KiwiRail||North Island||Former technology test train, Named Elena T. Repainted in the KiwiRail phase 2 livery from non-standard livery.[n 3]|
|DCP 4450||DC 1593||DA 1458||December 1979||October 2015||KiwiRail||Stored at Hutt Workshops.|
|DC 4467||DC 1594||DA 1541||December 1979||KiwiRail||North Island|
|DC 4473||DC 1595||DA 1497||March 1980||October 2015||Tranz Rail Black ("Bumble-Bee")||Stored at Hillside Workshops.|
|DC 4496||DC 1596||DA 1534||March 1980||November 1999||Under-frame was scrapped at Hutt Workshops in April 2007.|
|DC 4507||DC 1597||DA 1545||April 1980||January 2013||Tranz Rail Blue||Damaged in level crossing accident at Woodville in November 2012. Stored at Hutt Workshops.|
|DCP 4513||DC 1598||DA 1446||April 1980||KiwiRail||South Island|
|DC 4536||DC 1599||DA 1505||July 1980||June 2015||MAXX Blue||Stored at Hutt Workshops.|
|DC 4542||DA 1537||July 1980||October 2013||Tranz Rail Blue||Stored at Hutt Workshops.|
|DCP 4559||DA 1539||May 1980||KiwiRail||South Island|
|DC 4565||DA 1464||July 1980||February 2017||Tranz Rail Black ("Bumble-Bee")||Stored at Hutt Workshops.|
|DC 4571||DA 1522||July 1980||KiwiRail||North Island|
|DC 4588||DA 1489||August 1980||November 1998||Shipped to Tasmania in December 1998, later sold to AN Tasrail. Scrapped at East Tamar Workshops in 2011.|
|DC 4594||DA 1538||September 1980||KiwiRail||North Island|
|DCP 4605||DA 1524||September 1980||KiwiRail||North Island|
|DCP 4611||DA 1498||September 1980||February 2017||KiwiRail||Stored at Westfield Yard.|
|DCP 4628||DA 1491||November 1980||KiwiRail||South Island|
|DCP 4634||DA 1474||December 1980||KiwiRail||North Island|
|DC 4640||DA 1466||December 1980||August 2013||Tranz Rail Blue||Stored at Hutt Workshops.|
|DC 4657||DA 1477||December 1980||July 2002||Scrapped a few days after following heavy damage sustained in fatal derailment at Te Wera in July 2002.|
|DCP 4663||DA 1488||December 1980||MAXX Blue||North Island|
|DC 4686||DA 1465||December 1980||January 2002||Scrapped in November 2006 after derailing into the Rangitata River due to a washout on 4 January 2002.|
|DC 4692||DA 1480||March 1981||KiwiRail||North Island||Named Dora. First locomotive to haul the Northern Explorer Scenic train.|
|DC 4703||DA 1472||February 1981||March 1992||Withdrawn after derailment at Hornby in March 1992. Scrapped at Hutt Workshops in December 1997.|
|DC 4726||DA 1494||April 1981||KiwiRail||South Island|
|DC 4732||DA 1499||March 1981||February 2015||MAXX Blue||Stored at Hutt Workshops following a derailment at Westfield on 2 March 2014.[not in citation given]|
|DC 4749||DA 1495||March 1981||July 2000||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. Scrapped at Hutt Workshops in April 2003.|
|DCP 4755||DA 1496||February 1981||Tranz Rail Blue||South Island||Undergoing major repairs at Hillside Workshops.|
|DCP 4761||DA 1469||November 1981||KiwiRail||South Island|
|DC 4778||DA 1487||November 1982||March 1992||Withdrawn after derailment at Hornby in March 1992. Scrapped at Hutt Workshops in December 1997.|
|DC 4784||DA 1476||December 1982||June 2014||Tranz Rail Blue||Stored at Hutt Workshops.|
|DCP 4790||DA 1482||February 1983||KiwiRail||North Island||Named Yogi Bear. Appeared in the Movie Yogi Bear in Fruit Salad Livery.|
|DCP 4801||DA 1484||March 1983||KiwiRail||South Island|
|DCP 4818||DA 1481||April 1983||July 2015||KiwiRail||Stored at Hutt Workshops.|
|DC 4824||DA 1486||June 1983||January 2001||Written-off after level crossing collision while hauling the Southerner 8 January 2001. Scrapped at Hutt Workshops in March 2003.|
|DCP 4830||DA 1516||July 1983||February 2015||Toll Rail ("Corn Cob")||Stored at Hutt Workshops.|
|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||January 2017||International Orange||Stored at Hillside Workshops.|
|DC 4916||DA 1453||August 1980||MAXX Blue|
|DC 4922||DA 1479||December 1980||August 2015||MAXX Blue||Stored at Hutt Workshops.|
|DC 4939||DA 1457||March 1981||MAXX Blue||North Island|
|DCP 4945||DA 1456||August 1981||November 2015||MAXX Blue||Stored at Hutt Workshops.|
|DC 4951||DA 1459||December 1981||MAXX Blue||North Island|
- 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.
- Introduction dates are from when the locomotive first ran as a DC class locomotive, not New Zealand DA class locomotive.
- Locomotive number displayed on long hood in place of MAXX, instead of on the cab.
In popular culture
- 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.
- "Media Release: Bus and Train Upgrades Announced". Retrieved 9 May 2011.
- Norman, Emily (2 July 2015). "Faster locos mean timely rides - council". Wairarapa Times-Age. Retrieved 17 July 2015.
- New Zealand Railfan magazine, September 2003
- "Rail Tasmania – DC class". Retrieved 22 August 2011.
- "KiwiRail DC Locomotive Disposal RFQ". 5 February 2015. Retrieved 7 February 2015.
- "Withdrawn locomotives -- Official Information Act request to KiwiRail". FYI.org.nz. 29 July 2014. Retrieved 1 November 2014.
- "Rail Reports". TAIC. 8 December 2011.
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