Rail tractors (Tr class) are small locomotives generally not exceeding
21 tonnes in weight and 140 kW power output that are used at small stations or depots
where there is insufficient work to justify a full shunting locomotive. They are usually
driven by traffic staff rather than locomotive engineers and under the old New Zealand
Railways rules were not permitted to travel on the main line between stations except under
the control of a locomotive engineer. They are also not fitted with train braking
Tr 54 is an early example of the rail tractor concept. Built in 1937 by
Hudswell, Clarke of England, it was originally in service with New Zealand Public Works
during construction of the Christchurch-Picton line, and was purchased by New Zealand Rail
in 1950. After service at Addington (Christchurch) and Greymouth, Tr 54 was donated to
Ferrymead Railway in 1966, where it served for many years as the shop shunter.
The smallest locomotive on the Ferrymead Railway, it weighs only four
tonnes. It is powered by a Paxman Ricardo diesel engine of 40 hp driving through a 3 speed
gearbox with a top speed of 15 km/h. It is now stored unserviceable.
Tr 22 is another small diesel shunter, built by the Drewry Car Co in
1939, being one of 17 of these small (9 ton) locomotives to operate on New Zealand
Railways. Powered originally by a 70 hp Parsons petrol engine through a four speed
gearbox, Tr 22 was like other members of its class re-engined in the 1950s with a Detroit
Diesel 4-71 100 hp diesel engine driving the wheels through a torque converter.
Tr 22 was withdrawn from NZR service and sold incomplete and engineless
to the Diesel Traction Group in 1985. It was transferred to Ferrymead by road and
the following year it was fitted with another 4-71 engine and torque converter and became
the Ferrymead Railway's light shunting locomotive under a lease agreement.
In 1996 the Diesel Traction Group sold the locomotive to the Ferrymead
Railway where it continues in regular use.
Tr 156 is an example of the heaviest Tr's on Tranz Rail's system
developing some 150 hp and weighing 20 tons. Seven of these locomotives were built by W G
Bagnall Ltd and introduced to service in 1956-57.
Locomotives No. 150 to 155 had McLaren engines while 155 and 156 had
Gardner engines, all with a four speed gearbox. The first five locomotives were later
re-engined with Gardner engines driving through a torque converter. Like most of the Tr's,
in recent years the Bagnalls have been gradually withdrawn from service.
Tr 156 was sold to the Canterbury Railway Society and moved on site in
February 1999. It is now used for heavier shunting and hauling some passenger trains.
Vulcan Railcars Rm 51, 56 and 57
Rm 51, Rm 56, and Rm 57 are three of four
preserved Vulcan Railcars. Ten Vulcans were built in England in 1939 for service on New
Zealand's South Island. One of these was lost to a German U-boat attack. The remaining
nine units served admirably throughout much of the South Island with the last being
withdrawn in 1978. Speedy and comfortable, the Vulcans earned an enviable reputation as
people-movers. A Vulcan established the highest "official" speed ever recorded
on New Zealand rails, 78 mph, during testing in 1940.
Rm 51 was delivered to Ferrymead
in March 1979 and with 56 became the mainstay of passenger services on non-steam days. It
was dedicated in 1995 to the memory of the late Gordon Jory, a founding member of
Canterbury Rail Society, who was instrumental in the preservation of these historic
railcars. He was in charge of their maintenance and operation at Ferrymead for many years.
Rm 56 was donated to the
National Federation of Railway Societies, and delivered to Ferrymead in October 1978
As noted above it has been an invaluable source of motive power on days when steam
was not operated, and enabled a Saturday service to be commenced. 56 continues in regular
Rm 57 was delivered to Ferrymead
with RM 51 in March 1979. It had not operated in service since mid 1976 and was
mechanically unserviceable on arrival. It is presently stored.
Diesel Traction Group Locomotives
De 1429 and 511
De Class No. 1429 and No. 511
De 511 and 1429 are two of a class of fifteen
locomotives built by the English Electric Company of the United Kingdom and two of seven
DE class locomotives preserved in New Zealand. They were introduced onto the New Zealand
Railways in 1951-2, becoming their first diesel-electric locomotives. The class was built
for shunting and transfer work but were also used on suburban passenger trains and a
number of the class, running in pairs, were used on the 1953 Royal Tour.
The class were powered by the English Electric
6SRKT Mk 1 diesel engine, a 6 cylinder inline engine with bore 10" and stroke
12", producing 660 hp at 750 rpm. They had a Bo-Bo wheel arrangement with four
traction motors. The locomotives are of the hood type with a cab at one end. The class was
not fitted with dynamic braking or the "vigilance" safety system that most other
locomotives and multiple units have in NZ, and were not equipped for multiple-unit
In latter years the locomotives reverted to their
originally intended function of shunting and transfer and were dispersed to various parts
of the country including Dunedin and Invercargill in the South Island.
De 511 was overhauled at
Dunedin's Hillside Workshops about 1981/2 and was fitted at that time with a DG-type
engine (6SRKT MkII) producing up to 750 hp, and placed in service in Dunedin with several
other locomotives of the class. They continued there until 1987 when the Dunedin
locomotives were withdrawn from service and written off the books. About a week before
retirement De 1412 as it was now known, was run on a special excursion train from Dunedin
to Wingatui, a distance of 12 km. The De class continued to operate in Invercargill until
mid 1989 when the remaining locomotives there were withdrawn from service.
The week after being withdrawn, De 1412 along
with De 1429 and other locomotives, was put up for auction at Hillside Workshops and both
were purchased by the Diesel Traction Group as private shareholdings. The locomotives were
then towed to Christchurch and subsequently transferred to the Ferrymead Railway.
De 1429 was overhauled at East
Town Shops (Wanganui) in 1980 where it became the first of the class to be fitted with a
Mark II engine from a Dg class loco. New cab side windows were also installed in a
"modernisation". TMS colours were applied and it worked some months around
Wellington on trials before transfer to the South Island in August 1981. It was sold to
the DTG in 1987 after its withdrawal from NZR service and transferred to the Ferrymead
Railway soon after.
The locomotive is painted in the original NZR TMS
colour scheme and it carries its TMS number 1429. De 1429 is mainly used for heavy
shunting and passenger service upon the Ferrymead Railway.
Dg 772 (TMS number 2255, formerly Dh 772) is the
Diesel Traction Group's flagship locomotive. It is one of a class of forty-two locomotives
that were built by the English Electric Company of the United Kingdom, in conjunction with
the Vulcan Foundry and Robert Stephenson & Hawthorn Ltd. Introduced into NZ in 1955 as
the Dg and Dh classes, they were the South Island's first diesel electric locomotives and
added to several existing classes that were already at work in the North Island.
The Dg locomotives were powered by the English
Electric 6SRKT Mk 2 diesel engine, a 6 cylinder inline with bore 10" and stroke
12", developing 750 hp at 850 rpm. The wheel arrangement was A1A-A1A with four
traction motors mounted on the outer axles of each of the two three-axle bogies. Dg 772
was one of the first pair delivered to the South Island and was put to work in the Dunedin
area after use as a stationary generator at Railway workshops.
In 1980 New Zealand Railways rebuilt ten of the
class with new cabs and selected ten more unrebuilt locomotives to run as slaves (so that
trains would be hauled by pairs of locomotives with the recabbed locomotive leading). Dg
2255 was one of the slave locomotives as were the other five which were initially set
aside for preservation. By 1983 NZR had decided to withdraw the class completely and the
ten slaves were all withdrawn from service by May. The recabs survived in operation until
the end of 1980.
The Diesel Traction Group was formed in 1983 and
Dg 2255 was selected for purchase, the money was put up as a private shareholding. The
locomotive was then moved onto the Ferrymead Railway where it is still based.
In 1988, in conjunction with the Ferrymead 125
(Rail 125) celebrations, Dg 2255 was overhauled and certified to main-line running
standard, repainted in its original colour scheme and renumbered to its original number,
1966, New Zealand Railways purchased five Di locomotives from English Electric in
Brisbane, Australia, as the possible prototypes of a class of lightweight locomotives for
the South Island, however this role was eventually filled by the Dj class. The Di class
was powered by an English Electric 6CSRKT diesel engine, 6 cylinder in line with bore
10" and stroke 12", producing 1012 hp at 850 rpm. The wheel arrangement was
Co-Co with six traction motors, the first time this layout had been used in NZ. The Di
class was generally similar to Queensland Railways' 1620 class.
The Di's have been used in a variety of roles in
the NZR, in latter years mostly in secondary service and almost never in passenger
service, except for the odd excursion. In their final days they were mostly used for
shunting in the Wellington and Hawkes Bay areas. For some reason these locomotives were
withdrawn several times and then immediately reinstated.
The Diesel Traction Group selected Di 1820 for
preservation and she was transferred to the South Island in 1991, then on to the Ferrymead
here to visit the Diesel Traction Group's web site.