Stadler Rail Secures $ 263.49 Million Locomotive Contract from KiwiRail

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The new locomotives will be equipped with several on-board technologies. Credit: matthew Feeney on Unsplash.

New Zealand rail operator KiwiRail has signed a firm contract worth $ 263.49 million (228 million euros) with Stadler Rail Valencia for the delivery of 57 new locomotives.

The deal will see Stadler deliver its locomotives to New Zealand for the first time.

The contract was awarded following an international procurement process involving four locomotive builders.

Produced in Spain, the locomotives will replace the South Island fleet and enter service in New Zealand between early 2024 and 2026.

KiwiRail Group Managing Director Greg Miller said: “These are the next generation locomotives that will drive KiwiRail’s freight business on the South Island for many decades to come. For rail to play its part in New Zealand’s freight system, we need our services to be on time, every time.

“Today our South Island locomotive fleet of 65 has an average age of 47 years. Our machines have been in use for 17 years, on average, beyond their economic lifespan. The fact that some of our machines are closer to 60 than to 50 means reliability is a real issue.

Stadler Rail’s double cab locomotives will be developed in accordance with EU emissions standards.

Vehicles will emit 25% less nitrous oxide emissions and 30% less particulate emissions.

The locomotives will incorporate several on-board technologies, including an automatic engine start shutdown system that can shut off the engine when the locomotive is not moving.

To manage worker fatigue and energy performance, the locomotives will be equipped with a train handling system.

In addition, the units will be fitted with a driver energy reduction and advisory system for optimum energy performance.

Miller added, “Each new locomotive will also be much more powerful and efficient than our current machines. This means there will be less need to use multiple locomotives to pull heavy trains, reducing fuel consumption and potentially CO₂ emissions of the fleet by 20-25%.

The locomotives will also be installed with a remote diagnostic system to provide data including geographic location of the fleet, speed, fuel tank condition, mileage summary indication, etc.

KiwiRail worked closely with the Rail and Maritime Transport Union, as well as its locomotive engineers, to develop and customize the specifications of the machines according to their needs.

KiwiRail recently submitted planning approval requests for two new stations, Drury Central and Paerata, in South Auckland.


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