Some time ago there were whispers floating about that the big picture plan for the loco fleet did not include DC's, DBR's or DQ's. There were also murmers at the time that the common domestic DFT was being listed on the endangered species list, but I didnt really think they meant it..... well, that is until I was halfway through the latest edition of the weekly company propaganda sheet and found an article lauding the team at Hutt for the "within budget" mega buck rebuild of DFB 7158. 

While a very informative narrative ensued outlining how great they thought all the (still employed) workshop staff and the work that has gone into the rebirth of 7158, a quoted snippet from high brass pretty much confirms that the DFT's will be shown the door with the rest of the GM powered locos currently employed on the system.
“Overhauls were initially planned to start
in the 2009/2010 financial year but were
deferred pending the replacement of the
fleet with the new DL class locomotives.

“However, the continuing development
of KiwiRail’s plan to achieve financial
sustainability showed that 12 DFT
locomotives were still required for service
out to 2020."

“Retaining the DFB sub class with its Brightstar
control system was the logical choice.”

So there it is in black and white - they intend on keeping the weakest links in the fleet (Brightstar was NOT an improvement for this class IMHO) and hiff out the rest once the latest batch of DL's enter service  and are failing at an acceptable rate.

I guess in an effort to maintain a little focus and fairness, the super dooper rebuild of 7158 "restoring it to as near as possible to new condition" may well have turned the Brightstar bodge job into a fine tuned wagon pulling beast - but without a test drive I cant really comment I suppose.
That said, I am sorry to say, but for sheer sportscar-like performance in a loco nothing will ever match a Maxitrax equipped DFT - they were just superior in every way when compared to a castrated Brightstar version. Yes, Brightstar transformed the DX's into unstoppable hill slaying demons, but you would expect those results from a system designed by the loco's manufacturer specifically to be retrofitted into their machines..... putting a "lite" version into DFT's and expecting the same results would be like fitting an Samsung chip into an Iphone and expecting it to perform as good as it would were it at home in a 10.1..... aint gonna happen!!

So, the upshot of all this?? Time to put more effort into snapping piccys of DFT's "doin thar thang" while they are still around. Soon enough the Chinese borg collective will have turned the North Island into a mundane and boring place to railfan!

12/7/2012 07:01:07 am

Seems ridiculous... surely all the DFB/T/M's are worth keeping.... they arent that old, at least when you take the DC's past lives as DA's into account.

I know there's been no action getting 7117 back into service, its still parked up at Hutt with a tarp over its battered front end. And its without a motor after its one was apparently put into 7008

12/12/2012 08:11:55 am

I havent always been a fan of the DFT/B's, it wasnt until Drew took me for a ride in a few that I grew to appreciate them. I agree that hopefully theyve got Blightstar working better than it did, but I'll be out soaking up that GM atmosphere while I still can!!

12/12/2012 01:20:07 pm

Something unrelated AH.... news is Fonterra wants to expand its plant at Pahiatua. Surely that will have a knock-on effect to the milk trains?

12/19/2012 02:19:30 pm

all DFT/B are getting a overhual which should be good NZ should keep all the american trains they are the best


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