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.”
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!