Originally five D class locos were built for the Western Australian Government Railways (WAGR) in 1971, and were designed for use on heavy bauxite trains, where their 111t weight and 18t axle load were put to good use. In August 1998, two of these locos (D1564 and D1565) were sold by Westrail and shipped to New Zealand for future rebuilding. The two locos were taken to Wellington's Hutt Workshops in mid-1999 and work commenced on full rebuilding.
When purchased, these locos were missing many internal components, and during the rebuild process a second-hand 645E motor and D32 generator were obtained from the USA. The existing cab, high-nose and part of the body were completely removed, and replaced by a new cab closely resembling that used on Tranz Rail locomotive DXR8007. Dynamic brakes and electrical equipment formerly located in the nose were relocated to behind the cab.
The two locomotives arrived in Tasmania on 15 June 2001. Because the rebuild did not include traction motors, surplus English Electric EE548 traction motors were fitted to the locos at East Tamar. The two locos entered regular service in October and August 2001 respectively. The traction motors did not make a perfect match and following a large number of failures over the years, they were replaced by second hand GM motors in 2009. The locos were stored in mid 2014 following the commissioning of the TR class. In May 2015 both loco were shipped to Bendigo (Victoria) for overhaul and in January 2018 delivered to Perth, Western Australia for their new owner Watco. They are now classed as DR and carry their original WARG numbers.
Sounds: D2021, D2020, ZR2101 haul DQ2006 & DQ2010 and 28 wagons up the grade into Rogerville, 24 July 2001 (MP3 format, 59s, 420kB)
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