New Zealand national rail operator KiwiRail has awarded a $NZ75m contract to China’s CNR Loric Import and Export Corporation for 20 2,700kW diesel-electric locomotives.

The fleet will be the first new vehicles for the railways in 20 years.

CNR Dalian Locomotive and Rolling Stock will manufacture the vehicles.

The first six vehicles are expected to be delivered in May 2010 and the remainder in August 2010.