REGIONAL> Development
New Zealand deal marks international turning point for CNR
By Dan Na (
Updated: 2009-09-11 17:17

The signing ceremony for a deal that will see CNR export 20 diesel locomotives to New Zealand was held on September 11, 2009 at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse. This marks the first purchase of China-manufactured diesel locomotives by a developed country.

New Zealand deal marks international turning point for CNR

Representatives from both CNR's LORIC Import & Export Corp Ltd and New Zealand's KiwiRail attended the historic occasion. The 20 diesel locomotives purchased from China is the largest rail transport deal made by New Zealand in the last 30 years.

Headed by the former Prime Minister and now KiwiRail Chairman, Jim Bolger, a sizeable New Zealand delegation attended the signing ceremony, demonstrating the great significance the government in Wellington, New Zealand’s capital, is attaching to the deal.

Other participants included Carl Robinson Worker, New Zealand's ambassador to China, Chong Quan, assistant minister of the Ministry of Commerce, Zhang Ji, director general of the Electro mechanical and Science and Technology of the Ministry of Commerce, and Walter Huang Weiqiang, director of Pacific Power Development Ltd.

According to the contract, the CNR subsidiary, Dalian Locomotives and Rolling Stocks Co Ltd, will deliver the first six locomotives by May 19, 2010, and the remaining 14 by August 19, 2010.

The specified locomotives have 2,700 kW (3,700HP), outside-corridors, double-cabs, and are being designed to a1,068 mmtrack gauge capacity. As the most powerful narrow-gauge locomotives available, they can reach an operating speed of 100km/h with 2,000 tonne load on a 16‰ ramp line.

CNR's President, Cui Dianguo, said that the prospect of exporting diesel locomotives to New Zealand, a developed country, is totally different from the company's previous contracts, which largely featured developing countries.

Reflecting on the deal, Dianguo said:"This is the first time we have exported diesel locomotives to a developed country. This shows that we have the ability to provide developed countries with advanced technology locomotive products. This is a great start for us in our bid to penetrate new markets and build up our international business relationships."

New Zealand's KiwiRail is a State-owned railway company, which manages over 90 percent of the railway business in the country.

The cooperation between the two parties began in 2005 when CNR received its first order from KiwiRail. This was for a state-of-the-art freight train, a passenger train bogie, a railway locomotive traction motor and for the provision of motor repair services. The quality of the products and the services provided resulted in the development of a closer relationship between the two.

With more and more "CNR-made" locomotives being exported to an increasing number of countries in recent years, KiwiRail showed a continuing interest in CNR, sending fact-finding delegations to Malaysia, Pakistan and Turkey, counties already utilizing CNR products. The subsequent feedback from these countries was enough to persuade New Zealand that CNR was the right company to provide their upgraded rolling stock.

Through its extensive dealings and cooperation with CNR, KiwiRail developed considerable faith in CNR's effective products, high-standard technical specifications, long-term reliable spare parts supply, after-sales service and passenger-friendly designs.

New Zealand was the first developed country to recognize China's market economy status and also the first developed country to negotiate a free trade agreement with China.

As a developed country in Oceania, New Zealand currently has a total of 4,700 km of rail track. Traditionally, New Zealand has looked to US companies to provide its locomotives.

1. New Zealand railway and locomotives in demand

We have followed the track of this project for several years. Because of recombination of New Zealand railway operation, reversals occurred for many times. For so many years, locomotives running on New Zealand railway are most from America which is the traditional market for New Zealand locomotives. Therefore, there is a firm idea of “even second-hand locomotives from America are better than others”. However, dependency resulted from long term operation, especially the fittings supply, which is totally under the control of America, forcing New Zealand create purposes to purchase new locomotives.

In recent years, radiation and demonstration effects from CNR exported locomotive batches come into New Zealand’s notice and great interest. During the contact, our party leads them actively to change their thinking concept, i.e. though the more advanced the better, the source is still easily wasted. The reasonable choice is to make the locomotives have better adaptability to meet native railway line requirements.

Therefore, New Zealand government sent officials to investigate Chinese locomotives service conditions especially in Asian and African countries on site. The intention of selecting China made locomotives is further confirmed. CNR subordinate backbone enterprise, Dalian Locomotive and Rolling Stock Company, has delivered Malaysia 20 AC transmission diesel locomotives. This is the first time for our country to export AC transmission diesel locomotives, which built an excellent image with perfect product quality in the market. In Pakistan, 69 diesel locomotives of two types provided by CNR went through the test, following another order from Pakistan. New Zealand decided to purchase locomotives from China Dalian Locomotive and Rolling Stock company by the way of bid negotiation after surveying locomotive service conditions in above-mentioned countries.

New Zealand Kiwirail has full responsibility for the purchasing.

It is known that New Zealand railway is about 4700km long. The railway technical standard adopts British system. The gauge is 1068mm which is much narrower than 1435mm. Besides, the railway is old with poor maintenance. New Zealand railway gauges are smaller than Chinese gauge (4.5m in height and 3.3m in width for Chinese gauges while 3.8m in height and 2.8m in width for New Zealand). Different railway sections are not uniform either. So far, there is still no standard. Therefore, locomotive design should carry out microcomputer software simulation test first to ensure all kinds of different gauges pass through. In the meantime, due to axle load limitation, locomotive axle load in China is usually about 23t, but that in New Zealand is only 18t. The dead load is 30t less than that of DF4D locomotive. Thus the locomotive strength requires stronger and locomotive design becomes more difficult.

Different from the other countries, the New Zealanders pay more attention to the humanization and good ride comfort on the locomotive design, especially to the fixation of cab seats and the operation of various devices, which should be in accordance with man-machine engineering, to the requirements on noise and vibration level, which are comparatively strict, to the locomotive emission standard, which is to be improved from the current Europe Tier 2 to Tier 3, and even to more detailed design aspects, like the luminance of locomotive lightings and so on. So the emphasis of our design thought must be changed from the conventional on the performance to the present on the application of the products which shall have good reliable performance and comfortable quality as well as serviceability. Therefore, the New Zealand specifies that before the imported locomotive contract is placed the Trade Unions shall take charge of the last procedure to decide whether it is signed after its investigation. On February 9th, 2009, the New Zealand Trade Unions made an on-the-spot investigation to Dalian Locomotive & Rolling Stock Co, Ltd and took a ride on HXD3 electric locomotive, during which time they were highly satisfied by what they had reviewed.

According to the normal schedule, the contract could have been placed by the end of last year. This was because of the International Financial Crisis which caused the depreciation of New Zealand dollars, producing a financing gap of 20 millions NZ dollars (about 10 millions US dollars). Thereby, the New Zealand National Congress has reconsidered and approved to put more procurement fund to this project.

2. Signification of exporting locomotives to New Zealand

Before, Chinese exported locomotives are mainly for developing countries. Through the exportation, Chinese locomotives not only stabilize the market position in eastern hemisphere but also enter into world advanced countries. On this account, following market in other advanced countries may be developed.

Exporting diesel locomotives to New Zealand realizes CNR diesel locomotive, passenger locomotive and freight locomotive all enter into Australia market in batches.

3. Main contents in contract

The locomotive is designed and manufactured by CNR subordinate backbone enterprise Dalian Locomotive and Rolling Stock Company. Power is 2700kW (3700hp). It is of outside corridor and double cabs. When hauling 2000t freight to pass through gradient of 16‰, the speed could reach 100km/h. The power of locomotive will be the highest in global narrow-railway. According to the contract, first batch of 6 locomotives will be delivered by May 19th, 2010. The left 14 locomotives will be delivered all by August 19th, 2010.