KiwiRail’s Wairarapa locomotives adopt low emission technology

Posted: 1 July 2024 | | No comments yet

KiwiRail’s vintage locomotives in Wairarapa have been equipped with low emission engine kits, marking a step forward in sustainable railway operations in New Zealand.

KiwiRail's Wairarapa locomotives adopt low emission technology

Credit: KiwiRail

In a pioneering move towards sustainable transportation, KiwiRail has announced that locomotives leading the charge on Wairarapa’s passenger routes are now setting a new standard with their advanced low emission technology. Despite their age, these locomotives, modified multiple times over their decades-long service life, have recently undergone a transformative retrofit with state-of-the-art low emission engine kits. This modification marks a significant environmental milestone as they are currently the sole units in New Zealand equipped with this technology, exclusively serving the Wairarapa region.

Danny Singh, Rolling Stock Engineering Manager at KiwiRail, highlighted the strategic decision behind upgrading these locomotives, emphasising the reduction of fume levels within the Remutaka Tunnel. The retrofit process involves meticulous pre-modification and post-modification testing phases, focusing on enhancing engine efficiency through low oil consumption power assemblies and emission-reducing injectors.

“After testing, we’ve found that the amount of particulate matter (tiny particles in the air) has decreased a lot, with levels dropping to between 30ppm (parts per million) and 80ppm,” said Danny Singh.

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Locomotive Engineer Tipi Penny, a proud Masterton native, expressed his enthusiasm for operating these new low emission locomotives, describing it as the highlight of his career.

“I really love working on the carriage trains. If we ever had to stop and evacuate passengers inside the tunnel there will be less toxic gases, and that will be a lot safer for everyone. I’m born and bred in Wairarapa. It makes sense to work back here where I’m from. It’s nice to be home, and to be around my people,” said Tipi.

Having served as a Locomotive Engineer since 2012, Tipi Penny returned to Masterton in 2022 to contribute to his hometown’s transportation infrastructure. He is part of a dedicated Masterton-based team comprising three engineers responsible for piloting these environmentally friendly locomotives.

“I’m deeply rooted in Wairarapa, so being able to work here feels like coming full circle. It’s wonderful to be back home and among my community,” Tipi Penny added.

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