KiwiRail has been forced to admit it has placed on hold a second order of 20 Chinese-built locomotives.
In March, KiwiRail denied to NBR ONLINE in an email that there were any significant problems with the Chinese deal.
But staff at KiwiRail have been concerned about the numerous engineering problems for months.
The extent of the problems were revealed by Dunedin MP Clare Curran after she requested information under the Official Information Act about the first batch of 20 Chinese locomotives and 500 wagons.
Today, KiwiRail revealed production is on hold for a second order of 20 locomotives worth $62 million until the problems are ironed out.
Just two weeks ago, a senior public relations consultant employed by KiwiRail phoned to complain an NBR story revealing the problems was out of context.
Senior communications adviser Jenni Austin said the problems were simply the kind of thing that would be expected during a “commissioning phase” and they were not a continuing issue.
Reports today confirm the problems are significant, unprecedented and affect both the locomotives and wagons.
One of the emails NBR received in March stated:
“We have not cancelled the 2nd order for 20 DLs. This has been placed and we expect delivery to begin from early next year.”