Rail operator announces “major hillside redevelopment”

A new wagon assembly facility is expected to boost be a win for both the rail sector and jobs in the Dunedin area.

A REDEVELOPMENT of KiwiRail’s Hillside Workshops will begin this year, following significant investment from the Government, KiwiRail group chief executive Greg Miller says.

In the recent budget, the government announced $85m to build a new wagon assembly facility, following a near $20m allocated previously through the Provincial Growth Fund to re-make the adjacent mechanical workshop at Hillside.

“These government investments, together with funding from KiwiRail, will see Hillside revitalised over the next few years – creating jobs, new skills, and guaranteeing the future of the historic Dunedin site,” Miller said.

“The investment is supporting the local economy with 250 construction jobs needed for the rebuild. Wagon assembly itself means KiwiRail will take on 45 staff for new roles in producing wagons, instead of importing them fully assembled.”

Miller said KiwiRail was committed to ensuring at least 10 per cent of their new intake to their workforce were apprentices or trainees.

“Having mechanical and wagon assembly together also creates synergies by being able to share some infrastructure and to grow skills,” he said.

“Once we’re producing wagons here, it will be a strength to the company to have the very people who assembled them, still here to service and maintain them.”

The redevelopment of Hillside includes:

  • A new mechanical workshop where up to 20 locomotives or wagons can be worked on at a time
  • A new wagon assembly facility, where two wagons can be assembled a day. KiwiRail expects to assemble at least 1500 wagons over three years
  • New shared offices and workshops, allowing KiwiRail’s track maintenance and signals staff to move to the site
  • A new traverser, heavy lift cranes and jacks, and electric shunt engines
  • A much more appealing frontage on Hillside Road, with a memorial walk to recognise the history of rail at the site and in Dunedin
  • Staged demolition will begin this year, with the new site expected to be operational by mid-late 2023
  • Once the work is complete more than 100 KiwiRail people will work from the site.

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