New Zealand DQ and QR class locomotives

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DQ / QR class
250px
DQ 6324 at Palmerston North
Type and origin
Power type Diesel-electric
Builder Clyde Engineering, Eagle Farm, Australia
Model Electro-Motive Diesel G12 (1460)/G22C (1502)
Build date 1964 - 1969
Rebuilder Hutt Workshops
Rebuild date 1996 - 1999
Number rebuilt 16 (DQ), 6 (QR)
Specifications
UIC class Co-Co
Gauge 1,067 mm (3 ft 6 in)
Wheelbase 13.55 m (44 ft 5 in) between bogies
2.58 m (8 ft 6 in) between axles in each bogie
Length 16.3 m (53 ft 6 in)
Loco weight 92 tonnes (91 long tons; 101 short tons)
Fuel type Diesel
Prime mover Electro-Motive Diesel 645E
Engine type V12 2 stroke diesel
Generator Electro-Motive Diesel D25 or D32T
Traction motors Electro-Motive Diesel D29
Cylinders 12
Performance figures
Maximum speed 80 km/h (50 mph)
Power output 1,120 kW (1,500 hp)
Tractive effort 1460: 1,065 kW (1,428 hp)
1502: 1,230 kW (1,650 hp)
Career
Operators Tranz Rail, RRL Grindrod, TasRail
Number in class 25 (1460: 21 1502: 4)
16 rebuilt as DQ class, 6 as QR class, 3 spares only
First run January 1996 - May 1998
Last run March 2013 (NZ)
Retired May 1998 - 2013 (NZ)
c2015 - present (Tasmaina)
Withdrawn May 1998 - 2013 (NZ)
c2015 - present (Tasmaina)
Current owner RRL Grindrod
TasRail
Disposition 14 in service, 7 stored, 4 scrapped

The DQ and QR class were a class of diesel locomotives in New Zealand and Tasmania, Australia. Originally built by Clyde Engineering in the 1960s as Queensland Rail 1460 and 1502 class locomotives, they were purchased by Tranz Rail in 1995 to be rebuilt, as a cheaper alternative to buying new locomotives.

Introduction[edit]

Between March and September 1995, Tranz Rail purchased twenty-one 1460 and four 1502 class locomotives with the intention of rebuilding them for service in New Zealand.[1] Seven 1460 and one 1502 class arrived in Auckland on 12 September 1995, and were later hauled to Hutt Workshops in Wellington.[2] The second batch followed on the inter-island rail ferry MV Aratika, which was returning from Brisbane after a heavy engineering inspection, compromising of twelve 1460 and three 1502 class locomotives. This batch arrived in Wellington on 23 May 1997.[3] The last batch arrived on 25 June 1997, which compromised of two locomotives that were decided to be left behind on the second batch due to mechanical reasons.[4] This batched arrived on the MV Lauriegracht.[5]

Tranz Rail split them into two classes. The DQ class were rebuilt with a new cab and low nose and painted in the Cato Blue livery, with dynamic brakes, a computerized control system and rebuilt engine. The QR class were overhauled with auto-transition couplings and were also repainted in the Cato Blue livery, and were only used as trailing locomotives as they were not fitted with the safety equipment required to lead trains. The 1460s were originally planned to be reclassified as the DQC class, while the 1502s were planned to be reclassified as the DQF class. The classifications were later dropped.[6]

The first locomotive out-shopped was ex-1521 in October 1996 as DQ 15215, a temporary number that combined the Queensland number with a TMS check digit. It was soon renumbered as DQ 6007 in the same month and received the nickname "Platypus ". Those rebuilt from 1502 class locomotives received 60XX numbers and those from 1460 class received 63XX numbers. This was done to differentiate the different power output of class members. 6007 had a horizontal mounted headlight and numbers below the headlight assembly on the front wall of the cab, while the rest had vertical mounted headlights and numbers on either side of the headlight assembly. The first of the QR class entered service in October 1997. Three (1499-1501) were not rebuilt but used as sources of spare parts at Hutt Workshops.

1460 class locomotive NO 1499 was due to be rebuilt as the prototype of the DQT class, a turbocharged version of the DQ class.[7] But the programme was cancelled just less than a year later leaving 1499 as just an underframe, which was scrapped in 2001.[8][9] 1500 and 1501 were also planned to be rebuilt as DQTs as well, but after the programme was dropped.[10] Tranz Rail later approved to rebuild them as DQs[11], but this never commenced and were kept in storage at Hutt.

Service[edit]

Following the introduction of DQ 6007, the loco was used between Wellington and Palmerston North for shakedown purposes for two weeks, and also to sort out teething issues.[12] It was later assigned to freight services throughout the lower North Island. A further six DQs and seven QRs followed. Initially they were not preferred by locomotive crews due to excessive cab noise levels and emissions into the cab. Tranz Rail made modifications to DQ 6324 that reduced the noise level to that acceptable to the Rail & Maritime Transport Union, and also diesel fumes from entering the cab.

The class were largely assigned to freight trains. However, they made several appearances on the Capital Connection and Wairarapa Connection long-distance suburban services, and occasionally on the Overlander as far as Palmerston North.[13] It was soon discovered that the DQ class were not particularly reliable. Generator failures were particularly common, and so they were removed from long-distance operations to less-demanding short-haul runs, such as between Middleton Yard in Christchurch and the port of Lyttelton on the final leg of coal trains from the West Coast, and on the Ohai Branch line to and from Invercargill, hauling containerized coal trains. Several were also used as bankers to help trains up the gradients from Dunedin, and later up the 1 in 37 (2.7 %) gradient out of Picton. 1460 class loco NO 1500 was used occasionally as a shunter at Hutt Workshops.[14] Then unrebuilt 1460 class locomotive NO 1465 was used on a Mechanical Test Train in August 1997.[15]

Exports to Tasmania[edit]

Main article: TasRail DQ class
Main article: TasRail QR class
DQ 2006 leads two D locomotives through Glenorchy, Tasmania.
DQ 2002 outside the Port of Burnie.

Due to a locomotive shortage because of the planned replacement of AN Tasrails English Electric locomotive fleet, twelve DQs and three QRs were sold to the company. DQs 6007, 6330, 6353 and QR 3032, along with eight 1460 class locomotives, were sold to Tasrail. The three DQs were modified for service in Tasmania, while QR 3032 had its short-hood lowered as a DQ. The eight 1460s were fully rebuilt as DQs, with some being undergoing rebuilding when they were sold. Originally the three QRs were on a one year lease, but were later sold.[16] The modifications made to the units were changing the drawgear back to the originally Queensland Railways standard height, increasing the fuel tank capacity, relocate the battery boxes, installation of a sludge tank and engine room sump pan, fitting of the "Kaitiaki" vigilance, fitting of ZTR electronic anti-wheelslip technology and upgrading dynamic brakes.[17] The locos were also were renumbered in the 2000 series, and tested between Wellington and Palmerston North.[18]

The first two DQs, 2001 and 2002, were loaded on the MV Polar Queen on 28 August 1998, and arrived in Bell Bay on 2 September 1998.[19] The two locos were repainted in the "ATN Red" livery[20], which compromised of green "Tasrail" lettering, bright tomato red all over the locomotives and yellow bar-code stripes on the short-hood.[21] The next batch compromised of DQs 2003, 2004 and 2005, which were repainted in the "Wisconsin Central Maroon" livery, and QRs 2056, 2062 and 2102, which were still repainted in the Cato Blue livery.[22] The new livery for Tasrail compromised of maroon, with a wide buff yellow stripe and red "Tasrail" lettering, with the Tasmanian flag next to the letters.[23] The reason in the change of livery is due to the Australian Transport Network not being impressed of the cost of it.[24] This batched left the Port of Wellington on 8 December 1998 on the Arktis Dream, and arrived in Tasmania on 15 December 1998.[25] The third batch left on 23 February 1999 on the Edisongracht, compromising of DQs 2006, 2007 and 2008[26], and arrived in Tasmania on 3 March 1999.[27] The last batch, which compromised of DQs 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012, left Wellington on the Melanesian Chief on 28 September 1999[28], and arrived in Tasmania on 5 October 1999[29]

The DQs has not been overly reliable in Tasmania either. The locomotives have had a high number of main generator failures, since their arrivals. Reductions in rated haulage capacity in recent years have reduced the number of in service failures and train operating problems.[30] With Pacific National selling the Tasmanian railway system to TasRail, six locomotives have been repainted into the new grey and yellow livery. DQ 2001, which had just been reassembled, became the first loco to be repainted in the new livery in August 2010. Two DQs are carrying special advertising panels, in-place of TasRails logo.[31] 2006 carries a level crossing safety advertisement[32], while 2012 carries logos commemorating the 75th anniversary of the Rosebery Mine.[33]

The three QRs were again used as trail units in Tasmania due to the lack of radios and other equipment, as what are fitted to other lead locomotives[34] They were also occasionally used for yard shunts.[35][36] The three locos never saw much service in the first few years, with 2062 and 2102 being placed into storage within the first year[37], with 2056 following not long after.[38] The three later returned to service. QR 2102 withdrawn agin after a major engine failure in July 2002. 2056 was again withdrawn between 2005 and 2008. By 2008, only 2062 remained in service. The loco was generally on the Melba Line, but was occasionally used on the South Line.[39] This loco was withdrawn around November 2009. The locomotives were stored at East Tamar Workshops after withdrawal, but were scrapped between 2013 and 2016.[40] In 2013 the QR class were stored at East Tamar Locomotive Depot in a stripped state, and have been since scrapped.[41]

By late 2015, DQs 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2007 and 2008 were placed into storage, requiring heavy overhauls and other work before being available for use.[42] Although since then, DQs 2002 and 2008 have since returned to service due to an locomotive shortage.[43]

Withdrawal in New Zealand[edit]

Following the sale of twelve DQs and three QRs locomotives to AN Tasrail, Tranz Rail retained DQs 6324, 6347, 6376 and 6382 and QRs 2027, 2079 and 2085. The trio of QRs were seen used as slave units on freight trains in both islands, and occasionally on the Coastal Pacific. In early 2000, DQs 6347 and 6376 were transferred to the South Island for the coal shuttles between Middleton and Lyttelton.[44] In mid-November that year, DQs 6324 and 6382 were also allocated to the South Island for banking services between Oamaru and Dunedin.[45] The locomotives were later used for banking services between Picton and Wharanui as well.[46]

The three QRs were withdrawn in mid-July 1999 and were placed into storage at Hutt Workshops.[47] In 2003, the trio of QRs and the two un-rebuilt 1460 class locomotives were sold to the National Railway Equipment Company. In November 2005, the five locomotives were shipped to Mount Vernon, Illinois in the United States.[48] The two 1460 class locomotives were overhauled are in use in the Southern Hemisphere. 1460 class locomotive NO 1500 is owned and operated by the Magadi Soda Company in Kenya, and renumbered as their NO 5001.[49] 1501 is now owned and operated by CMP in Chile, and renumbered as their NO 9, and entered service for its new owner circa 2008.[50] The other three are where they remain minus a number of components.

DQs 6324 and 6382 were both withdrawn in 2002. 6382 was stored at Hillside Workshops and stripped of its six traction motors and other parts, while 6324 was placed on stand-by in Middleton Yard for the remaining two, which back then were used only on the coal dumps between Middleton and Lyttelton.[51] 6324 was later placed into storage at Linwood Depot, and also used for spare parts.[52][53] DQ 6376 was later withdrawn due to a defective main generator.[54] These three locos were later returned to service after being overhauled at Hutt Workshops.[55][56][57]

On 20 June 2011, DQ 6376 was damaged when it, and leading unit DFT 7117, collided with a slip at Claverley, south of Kaikoura. It was then withdrawn and taken to Hutt Workshops and not returned to service, and became a source of spare parts.[58] DQ 6324 was withdrawn in mid to late 2012 had worn its wheelsets down to the minimum code, and was also placed into storage at Hutt Workshops.[59] In March 2013, DQs 6347 and 6382 were withdrawn from service and placed into storage in Middleton Yard.

In February 2013, KiwiRail placed 6324 and 6376 up for sale overseas, with 6347 and 6382 in the following month.[60] DQs 6347 and 6382 were sold via APEX International, while the other two were sold to the National Railway Equipment Company.[61] 6347 and 6382 were told from Middleton Yard to Auckland in April 2013, and were shipped from the Port of Auckland on 13 May in the same year.[62], while the remaining two were towed north from Hutt Workshops in July 2013, and shipped on 4 August 2013.[63] They were rebuilt in South Africa by RRL Grindrod for use in Mozambique.[64] 6347 and 6382 have been reclassified as RRL22-02 and RRL22-01, while 6324 and 6376 were reclassified as BG15-01 and BG15-02. RRL22-01, RRL22-02 and BG15-01 are operated at the Nacala Corridor for a cement site, while BG15-02 is operated by the Harmony Mining Company in Welkom OFS.

Class register[edit]

Key: In service On lease Out of service Preserved Overhaul/Repair Scrapped
QR number Tranz Rail class and number Tasrail/RRL Grindrod/Other class and number Introduced[n 1] Withdrawn[n 2] Country located Status Livery Notes
1460 DQ 6382 RRL22-01 May 1998 Mozambique In service RRL Grindrod Red
1462 QR 2027 October 1997 July 1999 United States Withdrawn Tranz Rail Blue Stored in Mount Vernon, Illinois.
1465 DQ 6416 DQ 2006 March 1999 Tasmania In service TasRail Grey and Yellow
1466 QR 2033 DQ 2010 October 1999 Tasmania In service TasRail Grey and Yellow
1467 DQ 6376 BG15-02 May 1998 Mozambique In service RRL Grindrod Red
1468 DQ 6330 DQ 2005 January 1998 c2015 Tasmania Withdrawn Wisconsin Central Maroon Stored at East Tamar Workshops.
1472 DQ 6353 DQ 2008 March 1998 Tasmania In service TasRail Grey and Yellow
1473 DQ 6324 BG15-01 September 1997 Mozambique In service RRL Grindrod red
1475 QR 2056 September 1997 cAugust 2005 Tasmania Scrapped Scrapped at East Tamar Workshops.
1477 QR 2062 October 1997 cNovember 2009 Tasmania Scrapped Scrapped at East Tamar Workshops.
1481 DQ 6347 RRL22-02 January 1998 Mozambique In service RRL Grindrod red
1485 DQ 6399 DQ 2007 March 1999 c2015 Tasmania Withdrawn Wisconsin Central Maroon Stored at East Tamar Workshops.
1488 QR 2079 November 1997 July 1999 United States Withdrawn Tranz Rail Blue Stored in Mount Vernon, Illinois.
1489 QR 2085 December 1998 July 1999 United States Withdrawn Tranz Rail Blue Stored in Mount Vernon, Illinois.
1491 DQ 2009 October 1999 Tasmania In service Wisconsin Central Maroon
1493 QR 2102 November 1997 July 2002 Tasmania Scrapped Scrapped at East Tamar Workshops.
1495 DQ 2011 October 1999 Tasmania In service Wisconsin Central Maroon
1497 DQ 2012 October 1999 Tasmania In service TasRail Grey and Yellow
1499 New Zealand Scrapped Scrapped at Hutt Workshops.
1500 5001 2000s Kenya In service Magadi Soda Blue Operated by the Magadi Soda Company, Kenya as their No. 5001.
1501 9 c2008 Chile In service CMP Blue Operated by CMP Chile as their No. 9.
1502 QR 3032 DQ 2004 December 1997 c2015 Tasmania Withdrawn Wisconsin Central Maroon Stored at East Tamar Workshops.
1508 DQ 6036 DQ 2003 January 1999 c2015 Tasmania Withdrawn Wisconsin Central Maroon Stored at East Tamar Workshops.
1521 DQ 6007 DQ 2001 August 1996 Tasmania In service TasRail Grey and Yellow Formerly DQ 15215. It was named Platypus in Tranz Rail service.
1522 DQ 6013 DQ 2002 September 1998 Tasmania In service TasRail Grey and Yellow
  1. ^ Introduction dates are by either Tranz Rail or AN Tasrail, not Queensland Rail
  2. ^ Withdrawal dates are by either Tranz Rail, AN Tasrail or other operators, not Queensland Rail

References[edit]

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  2. ^ "Railfan". 2 (1). Triple M Publications. December 1995. ISSN 1173-2229. 
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External links[edit]