There are a number of options for locomotives to assist in building the line. The Trust has purchased a diesel shunting locomotive, which is currently undergoing repair, and is expected to be operational in 2012. Negotiations to lease a larger diesel-electric locomotive for both construction and operation are continuing, and should be successfully concluded by early 2012.
The railway initially requires operational locomotives that are capable of hauling 6-car trains on the route at a reasonable speed. The lease of operational locomotives will enable the railway to operate as soon as the rail infrastructure is commissioned, and to avoid the expenses of purchase and depreciation. Further approaches will be made to owning and leasing rail heritage organisations and individuals with a view to securing future steam and diesel-electric lease arrangements.
Many different types of conventional steam and diesel-electric locomotives worked between Upper Hutt and Summit, including A, Ab, R, S, W, Wb, Wd, We, Wg, Ww classes of steam locomotives, of which many examples have been preserved, some of which have been returned to steam.