Electric freight train service to end in New Zealand

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Electric freight train service to end in New Zealand

Postby David Benton » Wed Dec 21, 2016 1:51 pm

"KiwiRail announces fleet decision on North Island line".
http://www.kiwirail.co.nz/news/450/78/K ... ,news.html.

This is a terrible decision, hopefully temporary until we get a new government next year. The wires will stay up , and energised to deter theft.
The electric locomotives will be scrapped. More diesel locomotives will be purchased.
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Re: Electric freight train service to end in New Zealand

Postby David Benton » Wed Dec 21, 2016 1:56 pm

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news ... d=11770969
"KiwiRail to replace ageing electric train fleet with diesel engines"
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Re: Electric freight train service to end in New Zealand

Postby David Benton » Wed Dec 21, 2016 2:00 pm

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Re: Electric freight train service to end in New Zealand

Postby george matthews » Wed Dec 21, 2016 7:35 pm

Closing the electric service is sad news. I appreciate that NZ is not a rich country but electricity is local energy and would not be affected by worldwide prices.
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Re: Electric freight train service to end in New Zealand

Postby David Benton » Thu Dec 22, 2016 12:27 am

The govt is pulling a big surplus this year , but is saving it for tax cuts to try and win the election next year .

Thats the frustrating thing, its a small amount compared to roads spending etc.
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Re: Electric freight train service to end in New Zealand

Postby philipmartin » Thu Dec 22, 2016 7:34 pm

Conrail did the same thing when it got out of the passenger business. It scrapped its electric operations and ran everything with diesel, probably for economic reasons. The photo below shows the PRR freight motor pit in Kearny, New Jersey, with P5As and GG1s. Nothing like this exists in New Jersey today. In Pennsy days we didn't have road diesels for freight. I was working there, and on the lookout for any.
I wonder why David calls this "terrible?"
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Re: Electric freight train service to end in New Zealand

Postby David Benton » Sun Dec 25, 2016 6:23 pm

George , Please do not mention Trump again . Its a touchy subject best left alone on here.
Philip and George, Please agree to disagree on climate change, and wish each other a happy holiday season.

I said it was a terrible decision, because at the time it seemed so. Its definetly a result of terrible govt policy. However , some are suggesting Kiwirail are playing it smart by making this decision now. If National stay in govt , they cant afford to buy new Electrics on what National gives them anyway . If the labour/greens wins the election, then Kiwirail can go to the Greens and say , You want electric trains, you give us the money for them . And the Greens will, I am sure. The amount is a pittance , compared to the billions spent on roads. .
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Re: Electric freight train service to end in New Zealand

Postby David Benton » Sun Dec 25, 2016 9:59 pm

unlocked, Merry Christmas and behave yourself so I can play trains with my 3yo boy.
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Re: Electric freight train service to end in New Zealand

Postby philipmartin » Mon Dec 26, 2016 8:20 am

David Benton wrote:unlocked, Merry Christmas and behave yourself so I can play trains with my 3yo boy.

No longer locked out! That's a relief; it's cold in my part of the world just now, and George's too, probably.
Electric trains, are they?

I wished a happy Christmas to all on the 90mph running thread and replete it here (belatedly.)
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Re: Electric freight train service to end in New Zealand

Postby NorthWest » Mon Dec 26, 2016 2:16 pm

Operationally, this decision makes a lot of sense. Switching locomotives three times in the 425 miles between Auckland and Wellington is simply not cost nor time effective when compared to trucking. I'm not sure I buy the "EF loco problems" argument as they have been a pretty successful class as a whole, and with a standard midlife rebuild would be good for another 10-20 years. It just unfortunately makes sense that 8 diesels can replace 17 electrics with this horribly operationally inefficient system. The argument can perhaps be made that electrifying into Wellington and Auckland might make more sense, but I'm not sure that is in the budget.

You need a lot of volume to make electrification cost effective. Note that in Queensland the only electrified services are the coal lines, despite all of Brisbane-Rockhampton being electrified as there isn't enough traffic to make it cost effective. Here you can either go with diesels to try to lower transit times and costs to better compete with trucks or subsidize higher-cost electrics to try to keep prices reasonable. What it comes down to is how much are the citizens of New Zealand willing to pay to be more green?
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Re: Electric freight train service to end in New Zealand

Postby David Benton » Mon Dec 26, 2016 5:34 pm

philipmartin wrote:
Electric trains, are they?

I wished a happy Christmas to all on the 90mph running thread and replete it here (belatedly.)


The missus gets upset if we fire the diesel loco up inside the house.

Merry Christmas, Philip.
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Re: Electric freight train service to end in New Zealand

Postby David Benton » Mon Dec 26, 2016 6:01 pm

NorthWest wrote:Operationally, this decision makes a lot of sense. Switching locomotives three times in the 425 miles between Auckland and Wellington is simply not cost nor time effective when compared to trucking. I'm not sure I buy the "EF loco problems" argument as they have been a pretty successful class as a whole, and with a standard midlife rebuild would be good for another 10-20 years. It just unfortunately makes sense that 8 diesels can replace 17 electrics with this horribly operationally inefficient system. The argument can perhaps be made that electrifying into Wellington and Auckland might make more sense, but I'm not sure that is in the budget.

You need a lot of volume to make electrification cost effective. Note that in Queensland the only electrified services are the coal lines, despite all of Brisbane-Rockhampton being electrified as there isn't enough traffic to make it cost effective. Here you can either go with diesels to try to lower transit times and costs to better compete with trucks or subsidize higher-cost electrics to try to keep prices reasonable. What it comes down to is how much are the citizens of New Zealand willing to pay to be more green?

perceptive comments, Northwest. A bit of history. When the electrification was planned, Hamilton and Palmerston North were major junctions. Virtually all trains would stop anyway, drop off or pick up wagons. They remain driver change points, and a couple of trains each way drop off/ pick up . The central section of the NIMT has the most grade, the 2 end sections are relatively flat. At the time all trains had a guards van, and were restricted by the union to a single loco of around 2400hp (dx class). At the time , the only way to get more hp in the small loading gauge was to go electric.
Things changed rapidly in NZ in the late 1980's. The govt removed the restriction on road transport over 150 km . The unions agreed to remove the guards vans , and removed the restriction on double heading the DX class locos. muxh of the intermediate disappeared with the removal of the road restriction. By the time the elctrification came , the railway threatened to not turn it on , unless the power companies gave it better rates. trains got longer and fewer, the electrics actually became a restriction on the steepest sections. The class 30 have been quite reliable , they have never recieved any major maintenance. Any that broke down were parked up , the 22 original locos dropped to 11 or 12 going now. The Chinese dl class loco was introduced, after needing asbestos removal they have proved to be reliable.
Its come down to what is the best solution right now , with little ability to plan the future due to low government support. The Ef's need overhaul/ upgrade, and the cost of that still leaves future requirements to be fulfilled. New electric locomotives would be the best solution , but apparently have a long lead time. The buying of extra diesels now is a low risk/low cost solution, they can be used elsewhere anyway, in fact I would say they would be ordered regardless.
The future definitely depends on what the public decide they want . firstly at the next election, and it will be interesting if the greens and maybe other opposition parties make this an election issue. I hope they do. The environment is a big issue in NZ, and this has the appearance of been a green solution, even if the actual difference to national emissions is probably minimal. The Greens have , and will, push for electrification to Auckland, possibly also to Wellington and Tauranga. The main opposition party needs them as a coalition partner to get a majority. Only the governing party and the far right ( less than 1% support) would be against it . I would give the electrification extension a 60 -70 % chance of been implemented in the next 3-4 years .
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Re: Electric freight train service to end in New Zealand

Postby NorthWest » Mon Dec 26, 2016 6:56 pm

I wonder if Siemens would be able to do a quick modification to the E40 AG-V1s they've built for several customers in Queensland? I doubt they'd meet the clearance diagram as currently designed but that would be the best bet for a quick electric purchase.
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Re: Electric freight train service to end in New Zealand

Postby David Benton » Mon Dec 26, 2016 7:33 pm

Do you have a link to them , Northwest?
the original Queensland electrics were similar to Nz ones , didn't seem to be alot bigger
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Re: Electric freight train service to end in New Zealand

Postby NorthWest » Mon Dec 26, 2016 7:50 pm

I can't seem to find a proper clearance diagram for the class, but the official sheet is available at the link below:
https://www.mobility.siemens.com/mobility/global/SiteCollectionDocuments/en/rail-solutions/locomotives/customspecific-solutions/e40ac-en.pdf
Siemens calls them the E40AC family, and apparently the second order for PN was designated as E40 AG-V2, so these would likely have a different designation. It seems they would simply need to taper in the upper sides, but that may be difficult due to things shown in the cutaway diagram. Still looks like a good starting point though.
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