Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has paid a visit to Dunedin’s Hilliside Workshop, which is set to get a $85 million boost for new facilities.’
The Government earlier this month reaffirmed its commitment to the South Dunedin facility as part of its 10-year rail plan.
Hillside would receive the $85 million for new facilities to assemble about 1500 wagons.
State Owned Enterprises Minister Dr David Clark said at the time the investment meant local jobs, rebuilding expertise, youth training opportunities, a boost to Otago’s economy, and a more self-reliant railway.
Transport Minister Michael Wood said about 445 jobs would be created between Hillside and a new South Island Mechanical Maintenance Hub in Christchurch.
The Hillside investment alone will support up to 150 construction jobs and up to 45 operational KiwiRail jobs, including apprenticeships.
Ardern was today accompanied by Dunedin MPs Ingrid Leary and Dr Clark, and Finance Minister Grant Robertson.
Hillside will be truly modernised – KiwiRail
KiwiRail today provided details of the redevelopment and a video of an animated video of the new Hillside site.
Group Chief Executive Greg Miller today confirmed that the redevelopment would go ahead this year, following “significant investment” from the Government: last week’s announced $85 million, as well as nearly $20 million 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.
“KiwiRail is also committed to ensuring at least 10 percent of our new intake to our workforce are apprentices or trainees. Bringing them together in our new facilities at Hillside will create a strong culture of learning and wider opportunities for development.”
Miller believed the investment would “truly modernise Hillside”.
“It won’t be a 19th Century rail plant any longer – it will be a 21st Century one with new equipment, layout and improved work processes that will make Hillside a safer, more efficient and hospitable work environment for our people.”
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