NZR DSB class

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New Zealand DSB class
Type and origin
Power typeDiesel-Mechanical/Hydraulic
BuilderDrewry Car Co (25), Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (3)
Build date1954-67
 • AAR0-6-0
Gauge1,067 mm (3 ft 6 in)
LengthDrewry: 8.8 m (28 ft 10 in)
Mitsubishi:8.5 m (27 ft 11 in)
Loco weight37 tonnes (36 long tons; 41 short tons)
Prime moverDrewry: National M4AA7;
later: Caterpillar D343TA
Mitsubishi: Caterpillar D343TA
Performance figures
Maximum speedDrewry: 39 km/h (24 mph);
later: 57 km/h (35 mph)
Mitsubishi: 56 km/h (35 mph)
Power output195 kW (261 hp)later: 263 kW (353 hp)
Mitsubishi:280 kW (380 hp)
OperatorsNZGR, New Zealand Railways Corporation
Number in class28
NumbersTMS numbers: 1003-1290
Road numbers: 300-327
LocaleAll of New Zealand
First runAugust 1954
Last runApril 1989
Current ownerAvon Engineering (1), Mainline Steam Heritage Trust (1)
Disposition1 preserved, 27 scrapped

The NZR DSB class is a class of shunting locomotive introduced to New Zealand's national rail network in 1954 by New Zealand Railways (NZR).[1]


In 1950, NZR placed an order for 25 DSB shunting locomotives.[1] They were built by the Drewry Car Co. between 1954 and 1956.[1] The first three DSB class locomotives were commissioned in August 1954. The DSB are a larger and more powerful locomotive than the DS and DSA, classes and were used all over New Zealand. A second batch of three locomotives built by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries was introduced in 1967.[2]

By the end of their lives, 12 DSBs were repainted in the "International Orange" livery.


In line with NZR's policy of rationalising locomotive classes, the DSB class was entirely withdrawn by the end of the 1980s.[2]

Industrial service[edit]

Three were purchased for industrial service with DSB 1153 going to New Zealand Milk Products (later subsumed into Fonterra) to shunt their Whareroa milk factory, 1194 to Pacific Steel at Otahuhu scrap plant and 1221 to Avon Engineering at their Kamo plant. DSB 1221 was sold in 1986 while the other two were sold in April the same year. In 1963 all Drewry builds were re-engined with Caterpillar D343TA replacing their National M4AA7 which they entered service with. This increased their power output from 195 kW (260 hp) to 293 kW (353 hp).[3]

As of July 2014 only one has been preserved, DSB 313 was purchased in January 1991 by the Mainline Steam Heritage Trust for shunting at their Parnell depot.[4]

Mitsubishi for industry[edit]

Road numbers ORBs 1 and 2
Maker's Nos 1475 and 1476

Two 0-6-0 locomotives were built by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries for industrial service for the Ohai Railway Board in 1967.

ORB 1 was withdrawn in 1989 due to heavier trains and was replaced by DJ 3303. In 1990 the New Zealand Railways Corporation took over the Ohai Railway Boards section of the Wairio Branchline. It was then stored in Wairio until being sold to the Ohai Railway Board Heritage Trust for preservation.

ORB 2 shares a similar operating history to ORB 1, but was withdrawn in 1990. Stored in Wairio until 1992 when it was purchased by Reid McNaught for Steam Incorporated. It was then sold to Richard Gibbard in the early 2000s and is still in service for shunting by Steam Inc.


  1. ^ a b c Palmer & Stewart 1965, p. 147.
  2. ^ a b Parsons 2002, p. 26.
  3. ^ "Railfan". 7 (2). Triple M Publications. March 2001. ISSN 1173-2229.
  4. ^ "Railfan". 2 (2). Triple M Publications. March 1996. ISSN 1173-2229.

Further reading[edit]