[adapted from a recent issue of The Express – newsletter from New Zealand’s KiwiRail.]
Two refurbished diesel-electric locos recently transported to South Africa from New Zealand have an interesting history. They were built originally in Australia to a General Motors (GM) design by Commonwealth Engineering in association with Clyde Engineering at Rocklea, Queensland. That was back in the 1960s. In the mid-1990s, they were among 25 locos purchased and shipped to New Zealand. For many years, classed DQ, they were used as shunters in the Lyttelton and Picton yards. They form part of a parcel of four put up for tender in April, in terms of the railway’s modernisation programme (The other two went back to Australia).
In preparation for their long voyage to South Africa, the two DQs were first moved from Christchurch to Wellington. There all the fluids, oils and sand were cleared from the engines. Eventually they reached the port of Auckland from where they were despatched to Durban.
“We had no real problems getting the two ready for shipment as they were working locos”, says Kiwirail’s Chris Paice. Arranging shipment to South Africa did present problems though. “You need a large roll-on-roll-off vessel to ship locomotives like these. Finding a suitable ship that was going to Durban wasn’t easy and the locos made their way to Durban via a number of ports before they start their new life in industrial service in South Africa.”