Locomotives of New Zealand

Listed below are New Zealand locomotives currently in service, with a small photo, description and link to a Wikipedia article on each. Some tips to tell similar classes apart are also included.



DC class

Subclasses: DCP
Number range: 4006-4951
Entered service: 1978 (as DC class)
Power output: 1,062kW (645C), 1,230kW (645E)

Rebuilt from the DA class between 1978 and 1983, the class is still in use today, currently in use on both freight and passenger services. Out of the original 85 locomotives built, 45 remain in service. The DCP class originally denoted locomotives owned by Tranz Scenic 2001 Limited, but now denotes those locomotives fitted with bogie strops to prevent the bogies separating in a derailment. The class is slowly being phased out from service.

DC 4415
DE class

Number range: 1308-1458 (TMS), 501-515 (original)
Entered service: 1952
Power output: 490kW

Approximately half of this class of 15 locomotives remain today, with one in service for the Taieri Gorge Railway and the rest in preservation. DE 508 was once part of New Zealand Rail's Heritage Fleet.

DE 507
DF class (1979)

Subclasses: DFT, DFB
Number range: 6006-6317 (DF), 7008-7348 (DFT)
Entered service: 1979 (as DF class), 1992 (as DFT class)
Power output: 1,230kW (DF), 1,800kW (DFT)

The DF class was built as a modern version of the DC class, sharing the same prime mover, but with a Co-Co wheel arrangement, enabling the class to make greater use of its power. In 1992, DF 6260 was turbocharged and altered, and re-entered service as DFT 7008, with the other 29 locomotives following later. DFB class locomotives are a standard DFT fitted with the BrightStar wheelslip control system.

DFT 7145

Tip: Note the upper headlights. The DF class's lights are one over another, while on the DBR, DC and DX they are horizontal. Also, all DFTs and DFBs have a small chute behind the cab on the left side of the locomotive.

DH class

Number range: 2816-2866
Entered service: 1978
Power output: 672kW

Originally an order for Philipphine National Railways, they were purchased by the NZR as a heavy shunter for Auckland port work. They are still used in Auckland and Tauranga for heavy shunting, now fitted with multiple-unit capability.

DH 2845
DJ class

Number range: 3009-3689
Entered service: 1968
Power output: 672kW

Introduced to the South Island to replace steam locomotives. Their Bo-Bo-Bo wheel arrangement gave them an advantage on lightly laid branch lines, and were also suitable on mainline runs. The class was used on the Southerner passenger service in the train's early days. Today, six remain in use by Taieri Gorge Railway.

DJ 1209 (DJ 3096)
DL class

Number range: 9008-9688
Entered service: 2010
Power output: 2,700kW

Purchased by KiwiRail and first delivered in 2010, these were the first brand new locomotives to be introduced since the DF class over 30 years previously. Currently the most powerful and common diesel locomotive in New Zealand, the class sees service in the North Island on heavy freight trains. 63 locomotives are currently in service.

DL 9354
DSC class

Number range: 2000-2759
Entered service: 1958
Power output: 315kW

Purchased as a heavy shunter to replace smaller DS and DSA class shunting locomotives and smaller steam locomotives. A second version was built by NZR powered by two Leyland diesel engines instead of the Rolls-Royce engines. Only NZR-built locomotives remain in service. Two locomotives are preserved, one by Waitara Railway Preservation Society, and one by Mainline Steam.

DSC 2244
DSG class

Number range: 3005-3304
Entered service: 1981
Power output: 700kW

The DSG class forms the basis of KiwiRail's heavy shunting and yard work. All class members remain in service, and is the first class to achieve an all-KiwiRail branded fleet.

DSG 3304
DSJ class

Number range: 4017-4060
Entered service: 1984
Power output: 343kW

This class is essentially a single-engined version of the DSG class. The first locomotive was imported assembled in 1984, with the remainder assembled at Addington Workshops. All class members remain in service.

DSJ 4004

Tip: All of the shunters look similar, but note the headlights. On the DSC, the headlights are part of the body, while on the DSG and DSJ, they are mounted on a small plate above the body. The DSJ class has an off-centre cab.

DX class

Subclasses: DXB, DXC, DXR
Number range: 5016-5520 (DX), 8007, 8022 (DXR)
Entered service: 1972
Power output: 2,050kW (standard), 2,460kW (uprated, some members), 2,349kW (DXR)

Introduced due to the need for a more powerful locomotive on the North Island Main Trunk. DX 5362 was rebuilt as DXR 8007 in 1993, followed by DX 5235 into DXR 8022 in 2005. All DX locomotives now exist as DXB, DXC or DXR class locomotives. The DXB class is fitted with heavier drawgear, uprated engines, new cabs and BrightStar, while the DXC class additionally has lower air intakes for use in the Otira Tunnel.

DXB 5016

Tip: The DX class is much longer than the DC class, and the front hood is shorter as well.

TR class

Number range: 10-1026
Entered service: 1936
Power output: 78kW - 112kW (various versions)

A "catch-all" class, with many different manufacturers building various versions of the class. A handful remain in service for KiwiRail, including TR 56, their oldest locomotive. Several locomotives are preserved on private railways.

TR 156
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Diesel Multiple Units (DMUs)

ADL class

Trailer classification: ADC
Number range: 801-810 (ADL), 851-860 (ADC)
Entered service: 1982 (Perth), 1993 (Auckland)
Power output: 2x 205kW, one engine per bogie per motor carriage

Purchased along with the ADK class in 1993, intended to revive the Auckland rail network. The two classes were successful, and contributed to a rise in patronage from their introduction. The class was refurbished in 2002 in the new MAXX livery.

ADL 808

Tip: To tell the ADKs and ADLs apart, look at the bottom of the cab. The ADLs have yellow fibreglass attachments either side of the cowcatcher, while the ADKs don't. Also, the ADK's trailer unit, the ADB, only has one pair of doors on each side and is significantly shorter, while both the ADL and ADC have two pairs of doors each side.

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EF class

Number range: 30007-30249
Entered service: 1988
Power output: 3,000kW

Currently the most powerful locomotive in New Zealand and the only electric locomotive in operation. The class was introduced for the NIMT electrification in 1988, and still run without major rebuilds today.

EF 30157
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Electric Multiple Units (EMUs)

FP class ("Matangi")

Trailer classification: FT
Number range: 4103-4610, 5010-5396 (FP, FT)
Entered service: 2010
Power output: 680kW

Named "Matangi". Introduced to replace the ageing DM class entirely, and further units are to be purchased to replace the EM class.

FT 4570 - Matangi
AM class

Trailer classification: AMT
Number range: 103-714 (all carriages)
Entered service: 2014
Power output: 1,520kW (per unit)

Auckland's first class of EMU. Carriages are classified AMP for the motor car with pantograph, AMT for the centre trailer car, and AMA for the motor car without pantograph.

AMA 103
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Steam (preserved)


A class (1873)

Number range: 21, 22, 60-71
Entered service: 1873

A class of three similar types of locomotive, with similar specifications but differing in details. A small tank locomotive used by the Public Works Department and on smaller branch lines.

A class (1906)

Number range: 423, 428
Entered service: 1906

Designed to replace less powerful locomotives in the South Island, and in anticipation of the increased loads in the North Island. Two A class locomotives of 1906 are preserved, being A 423 at Glenbrook Vintage Railway and A 428 operational at Weka Pass Railway.

AB class

Number range: 608-836
First entering service in 1915 and went on to become the largest class of steam locomotives to operate. Ten were rebuilt from the WAB class. Two are preserved for use on the Kingston Flyer, while a further five are preserved.

Ab 608
BA class

Number range: 148, 497-500, 551-555
Entered service: 1911

Introduced in 1911, BA 552 has been purchased by Mainline Steam, but is not currently mainline certified.

BB class

Number range: 55, 109, 143, 144, 147, 167, 169, 171, 197, 222, 618-637
Entered service: 1915

BB 144, the only preserved locomotive of this class, is owned by Les Hostick and is under restoration at Mainline Steam in Parnell.

C class (1873)

Number range: 1-577, changed multiple times
Entered service: 1873

One C class has been preserved by the Silver Stream Railway, and another has been recovered from the Buller Gorge.

C 132
C class (1930)

Number range: 845-868
Entered service: 1930

Like the smaller C class of 1873, one C class has been preserved by Silver Stream Railway.

D class

Number range: 6, 16, 18, 46-51, 108-109, 130-131, 137-145, 149, 169-171, 195-98, 221-222, 240, 315, 578
Entered service: 1874

Out of the seven preserved locomotives, only two are in working order, preserved by several organisations.

D 140
E class

Number range: Unknown
Entered service: 1872

A double Fairlie type locomotive. The only preserved E class locomotive Josephine, is on display at the Otago Settlers Museum.

E class - 'Josephine'
F class

Number range: 12-233?
Entered service: 1872

The F class was the first important locomotive built for use on New Zealand railways. 88 were constructed, of which several have been preserved.

H class

Number range: 199-204
Entered service: 1878

The H class were used on the Rimutaka Incline before it closed in 1955. After withdrawal, one of the locomotives (H 199) was used as a children's playground, and was restored in 1989. It is now on display at the Fell Engine Museum.

H 199
J class

Number range: 1200-1239
Entered service: 1939

Built as a powerful locomotive capable of running on secondary lines with light rails. Preserved by Steam Incorporated and Mainline Steam.

J 1211
JA class

Number range: 1240-1274 (Hillside), 1275-1290 (North British)
Entered service: 1947 (Hillside), 1952 (North British)

The Hillside locomotives were built as an improvement on the J class. Additional locomotives were built by North British as additional motive power was required before dieselisation had begun. JA 1274 was the last steam locomotive built by, and for, NZR. Several of these locomotives are preserved by organisations around the country, including Mainline Steam and Steam Inc. JA 1274 is on static display in Dunedin.

Ja 1250
K class (1877)

Number range: 87-88, 92-97
Entered service: 1878

The first example of American-built locomotives in New Zealand, three are preserved. K 88 was exhumed from its river grave in 1974 and restored to working order in 1981.

K 88
K class (1932)

Number range: 900-929
Entered service: 1932

These locomotives were developed after the failure of the G class. K 900 is on static display at MOTAT.

KA class

Number range: 930-964
Entered service: 1939

These locomotives were streamlined. One KA class locomotive was destroyed in the Tangawai disaster, and three are preserved.

Ka 942
KB class

Number range: 965-970
Entered service: 1939

Based solely in the South Island, they were used for freight services. One locomotive is preserved.

R class

Number range: Unknown
Entered service: 1879

A single Fairlie type locomotive. One is preserved in Reefton's town park, as a static display.

R class
W class

Number range: Unknown
Entered service: 1889

W 192, the first locomotive built by NZR, is operational at the Ferrymead Heritage Park in Christchurch.

WAB class

Subclasses: WS
Number range: 687-798
Entered service: 1918
Power output: 1,000bhp (750kW)

A tank version of the AB class. WAB 794 is preserved by Feilding District Steam and Locomotive Society, and WAB 800 is preserved, but not operational, at the Glenbrook Vintage Railway.

Wab 794
WD class

Number range: 316-327, 355-360
Entered service: 1901

A tank locomotive, two have been preserved, and one of which is awaiting restoration.

WF class

Number range: 62, 379-398, 400-405, 430-438, 467-468, 842-844
Entered service: 1904

The WF class entered service in 1904, and four are now preserved.

WW class

Number range: 131, 449, 479-482, 486, 488-496, 556-561, 562 (later 667), 563-575, 638-647, 668-685
Entered service: 1913

Two operational WWs are preserved at Glenbrook, being 644 and 480. Two further WWs are preserved.

Ww 644
X class

Number range: 439-446, 588-597
Entered service: 1909

X 442 is now currently at the depot of the Fielding and District Steam Rail Society.

Y class

Number range: 542-544
Entered service: 1909

A small class of three locomotives, built for the Public Works Department and later sold to NZR.

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Images marked with an asterisk are released under the GNU Free Document Licence v1.3. Images of J 1211 and WAB 794 taken by Joseph Christianson.