Books ‘Cooked’ On Electric Trains Despite Denial

New Zealand First believes KiwiRail “cooked the books” to get rid of electric trains on part of the North Island main trunk line.

“They manipulated information for presentation to Ministers to favour Chinese diesel trains, but claim they did not ‘cook the books’, says New Zealand First Transport Spokesperson Denis O’Rourke.

“From Official Information New Zealand First discovered that:

“For the first six months of 2016 the Mean Distance Before Failure of the Chinese locomotives was 33,353km for the DL fleet and 51,924km for the DL Gen 2.2 fleet.

“However, in the presentation made to the Cabinet KiwiRail ‘massaged’ the numbers. The DL fleet was around 40,000km and the DL Gen 2.2s exceeded 80,000km.

“KiwiRail will not publicly disclose the day-to-day cost that each class of locomotive costs to run.

“However, according to KiwiRail’s own business case electric locomotives have ‘lower service and maintenance costs due to less moving parts’.

“According to their business case, the Chinese diesel fleet costs $1.77 a kilometre while the electric fleet costs $1.22/km. The Chinese diesels should be running at their optimum cost as they are relatively new, while the componentry inside the electrics is much older.

“A properly maintained, upgraded or new electric locomotive will achieve a much improved result which will increase the gap between low cost electric and high cost diesel.

“In some ‘binned’ internal and external reports we have seen, a rebuild of the current electric fleet or the purchase of a large number of former Queensland electric locomotives is acknowledged to be substantially cheaper than the Chinese diesels.

“Also, they have  lower operating costs, better reliability, equivalent 30 year lifespan from re-build, and are available in six to 24 months,” says Mr O’Rourke.