New Zealand DI class locomotive

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New Zealand DI Class
Di 1102 at Waipara.jpg
DI 1102 in Waipara
Type and origin
Power type Diesel-Electric
Builder English Electric
Rocklea works, Queensland, Australia
Build date 1966
 • UIC Co-Co
Gauge 3 ft 6 in (1,067 mm)
Length 13.8 metres (45 ft 3 in)
Axle load 10.16 tonnes (10.00 long tons; 11.20 short tons)
Adhesive weight 61.0 tonnes (60.0 long tons; 67.2 short tons)
Loco weight 61.0 tonnes (60.0 long tons; 67.2 short tons)
Prime mover English Electric 6CSRKT
Aspiration Turbocharged and Intercooled
Traction motors Six English Electric 540/1A
Performance figures
Maximum speed 97 km/h (60 mph)
Power output 755 kW (1,012 hp)
Tractive effort 132 kN (30,000 lbf)
Number in class 5
Numbers 1100 - 1104 (original)
1808 - 1843 (TMS)
Locale All of New Zealand
First run April 1966
Last run May 1989
Disposition 4 scrapped
1 preserved

The New Zealand DI class locomotive was a class of diesel-electric locomotive in New Zealand. They were built by English Electric Australia. The class is very similar to the Queensland Railways 1620 class locomotives.[1] At the time of their introduction, the class was seen as an alternative to the DB class for use on lightly laid secondary and branch lines, more so in the South Island, however the IMF financed introduction of the Japanese built DJ class in 1968 ensured that no further DI class locomotives were purchased by the Railways Department.[1]


Three members of the class originally operated in the South Island, mainly on the Main North Line between Christchurch and Picton, while the other two members started life in the upper North Island.[1] In May 1969, all members were transferred to work in the Bay of Plenty area on the lightly laid track there.[1]

After the Kaimai Tunnel opened in 1978, all five members were transferred to the South Island for service in the Dunedin area. The class performed sterling service on the hilly Dunedin - Palmerston section of the Main South Line, and were also used to haul the Makareao branchline stone trains to Makareao due to their full adhesion Co-Co wheel set arrangement.[1] Members of the class occasionally made trips to Invercargill and were sometimes used on the Otago Central Line.[1]

They remained in Dunedin until 1984 - 1986, when they went north to Wellington and Napier for uses mainly for shunting duties.[1] The locos were also used on revenue and special passenger services over the years of their operation.[1]



The first class withdrawal, DI 1837, was withdrawn in January 1986 due to a fractured piston, which caused major engine damage, and arrived at Hutt Workshops late February 1987 for storage.[1] 1808 and 1814 were then laid up in April 1988. DI 1843 was withdrawn in May 1988 after a collision with a milk tanker in a level crossing accident near Otaki. 1808 was subsequently returned to service to replace 1843, until it suffered a major main generator failure in April 1989.[1] The remaining member of the class in service, 1820, was withdrawn in May 1989.[1] DIs 1814, 1837 and 1843 were scrapped at Hutt Workshops in March 1989, while 1808 was stripped of useful components in May 1991 by the Diesel Traction Group for spares for 1820.[1]


DI 1820 was purchased by the Diesel Traction Group In February 1991, and transferred to their base at the Ferrymead Heritage Park in September 1992.[1] The locomotive was restored from 2009 to 2018, and has since been renumbered back to DI 1102.[2] It was mainline certified in September 2018.[3][4]

Class register[edit]

Key: In service On lease Out of service Preserved Overhaul or repair Scrapped
Pre-number TMS number Introduced Withdrawn Status Notes
1100 1808 April 1966[1] April 1989[1] Scrapped
1101 1814 June 1966 April 1988[1] Scrapped
1102 1820 June 1966 May 1989[1] Preserved Preserved, Diesel Traction Group. Mainline certified.[4]
1103 1837 September 1966 January 1986[1] Scrapped
1104 1843 September 1966 May 1988[1] Scrapped


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s "Railfan". 6 (4). Triple M Publications. September 2000. ISSN 1173-2229.
  2. ^ "Railfan". 24 (3). Triple M Publications. June 2018. ISSN 1173-2229.
  3. ^ "Our Operating Partners". Diesel Traction Group. Retrieved 20 July 2018.
  4. ^ a b "Diesel Locomotives". New Zealand Rolling Stock Register. Retrieved 20 July 2018.
  • "NZR Locomotives and Railcars 1983". T A McGavin. New Zealand Railway and Locomotive Society : Wellington, New Zealand : 1983.
  • "New Zealand Railway Diesels". E J McClare. Southern Press : Wellington, New Zealand.

External links[edit]