Undergoing a major overhaul for eventual use on the main line.

Locomotive details

  • Locomotive road number: Da 1471
  • Designed by: General Motors, Electro-Motive Division, La Grange, Illinois, USA
  • Built by: General Motors Diesel Ltd., London, Ontario, Canada
  • Date built: 1963
  • Builders Number: A2017
  • Builders Model: G12U6
  • Date entered NZGR service: December 1963
  • Renumbered to DA 725 with the introduction of TMS numbering system in 1979
  • Written off NZRC books in 1988, however retained at Palmerston North for shunting and occasional mainline excursions until 2002 when taken out of service.

Photo: Doug Johnston

  • Wheel Arrgt: A1A-A1A with EMD "flexi-coil" truck
  • Driving Wheel Dia: 40 inches
  • Idler Wheel Dia: 30 inches
  • Engine: EMD 12-567C
  • Horsepower (engine): 1425 hp at 835 rpm
  • Horsepower (traction): 1310 hp (input to main generator)
  • Main Generator: EMD D12F
  • Traction Motors: EMD D29
  • Air Compressor: Water cooled Gardner-Denver model WBO
  • Air Brake Schedule: WABCO 26L
  • Total Weight: 80.5 tonnes
  • Fuel Tank Capacity: 660 Imp. Gals
  • Water Capacity: 170 Imp. Gals
  • Length Over Pulling Faces: 46 feet 3 inches


Our newest main line locomotive Da1471 (TMS DA725) arrived at Paekakariki on Friday 4th May 2012.

 This locomotive, the last remaining Phase III Da adds to Steam Inc's existing Da fleet of Da 1410 (a 1955 Phase I model) and Da 1431 (a 1957 Phase II model) – giving the society an example of each of the various NZR Da model sub-types, and a much welcome addition to the Steam Inc diesel fleet.

This locomotive has had a rather interesting history. Built by General Motors in December 1963 in London, Ontario, builders No. A2017, Da 1471's career with NZR was seemingly rather run-of-the-mill, until it was sent to Hillside Workshops in Dunedin for an A-Grade overhaul – becoming the first Da class locomotive to visit the South Island. Out shopped in early 1984, wearing Fruit Salad livery and its TMS identity of DA725 it returned to service in the North Island, until like its other class members it finished service in 1988. However, it never made it to Hutt Workshops for disposal, being sidelined at Palmerston North depot and
adopted by the local staff there. As a result, it was incorporated into the NZ Rail (later Tranz Rail) Heritage Fleet. During its time in Palmerston North it was actively used, and repainted in traditional NZR Red livery with the white wing stripes. During this time Da 1471 found use on Steam Incorporated excursions as well.

However in 2002, Tranz Rail was looking to disband the collection and charged the Rail Heritage Trust with finding new homes for the then-collection. By then the condition of Da 1471 had deteriorated. Steam Incorporated became custodians of Da 1471, and it was moved to the Masterton goods shed where the Da team was based due to lack of room at Paekakariki at the time, and restoration was commenced on the loco. The locomotive was loaned to Steam Inc under on the proviso that should it be required back by Tranz Rail, that it would be handed back – a provision which unfortunately was enacted in August 2007 when the loco was recalled by then-Toll Rail to Hutt Workshops for an assessment and potential
return to service in some form. Reluctantly the locomotive was given up, and rumours abounded that it was to be rebuilt into a form similar to DAR517.

For whatever reason, this return to service never took place and Da 1471 has instead been stored under a shelter at Hutt Workshops during that time. Prompted by Dion McKenna in 2010, the committee began negotiations with KiwiRail which indicated the locomotive was available. With the assistance of Rail Heritage Trust's Euan McQueen, it was eventually agreed to make a bid to purchase it outright, and a small team of individuals raised the purchase price earlier in 2012.

 The loco was transferred from Hutt Shops to Paekakariki by Q4 shunt service on Friday 4th May 2012.

 The restoration project is expected to take several years and will require significant expense.  Any donations to the project will be greatly appreciated.  Steam Inc is a registered charitable entity so there may be a tax advantage in making a donation.

There is currently a small team dedicated to maintaining and operating this and other society owned Diesel Locomotives, If you would like to join the team contact Peter Steer on 021 120 3786 or pop into the depot on any Saturday.



















Related information


Diesel Locomotives - Information on our main line and depot shunter locomotives.