30 Oct 2018

Govt to keep electric locomotives running

6:23 pm on 30 October 2018

The government has decided to keep electric locomotives running on the North Island's Main Trunk Line, but is refusing to comment on the future of the track.

KiwiRail DL class locomotive

File photo. Photo: SUPPLIED

KiwiRail announced it would stop using electric trains on the line by April next year.

But the government has announced it plans to spend $35 million over the next four years refurbishing 15 electric trains, extending their life by 10 years.

KiwiRail uses diesel locomotives out of Wellington, switches to electric units in Palmerston North, then back to diesel in Hamilton.

A spokesperson for Transport Minister Phil Twyford said he had no comment on plans to electrify the remainder of the line, saying the government is currently reviewing the role of the rail system.

KiwiRail said it had discussed the potential of further electrification with the government and was also looking at alternative fuels, including hydrogen.