Following the rebuilding of former Tasrail ZC class locomotives by Morrison Knudsen Australia (see MKA class), the AN workshops at Port Augusta took on the task of rebuilding a Tasrail ZB class loco. Locomotive ZB9 (ex Queensland Rail 2358) was withdrawn after a major fire in early 1994 and six months later was shipped to Australian National's Port Augusta workshops in South Australia for rebuilding. Early in 1996 it arrived back in Tasmania complete, but not tested as it was desired to display the loco at an workshops open day to celebrate 125 years or railways in Tasmania. In service ZR1 initially suffered many problems, spending more time in the workshops than on the main line. Being the only loco of its type and having been rewired to operate on a lower voltage meant that ZR1 could not run in multiple with other Tasrail locomotives, restricting its use to where turning facilities existed. These were few, so ZR1 saw little use over the first year.
Conversion of a second locomotive (ex ZB6 / Queensland Rail 2355) was completed in July 1997 by the Tasrail Workshops at East Tamar in Launceston. This locomotive differed from ZR1 in several respects, most noticeably in a more conventional cab design and specifically in the type of train brake equipment used. The new locomotive was numbered ZR2. Once testing of the new loco, and the locomotives as a pair was completed, they went into service on the demanding Paper Train roster, running between Burnie to Boyer almost continuously. To more clearly distinguish the two locomotives ZR1 was renumbered ZP1 in early August 1997. There have not been any further locos rebuilt to this class. ZR2 was named Audrey Mills, in recognition of the long term that Ms Mills served as Tasmanian representative on the ANR Commission.
In June 1998, ZP1 was renumbered 2100, and ZR2 was renumbered to 2101. During October 1999, the braking system on these two locomotives was modified to allow multiple-unit operation with D, DQ and QR type locomotives with which they are now pooled for general operation. ZR2 was repainted into Pacific National livery in October 2004, but this loco has spent large amounts of this time out of service due to bogie problems although these were rectified and the loco returned to regular service in mid 2010.
Both locomotives were withdrawn from service in mid 2014 following the delivery of the new TR class locomotives.
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