KiwiRail's Hillside Engineering
in Dunedin has won a $40 million contract to deliver 20
carriages for operator Tranz Scenic.
KiwiRail chief executive Jim Quinn yesterday confirmed the
contract, saying the details would be released on Monday at a
formal launch at Hillside workshops.
• Leaders push to promote Hillside
The carriages are for the KiwiRail-owned Tranz Scenic
TranzAlpine train, which travels from Christchurch to
Greymouth. The work includes converting existing carriages
into three open-air viewing cars.
The project was first signalled 14 months ago.
The news follows a decision
by KiwiRail not to call for tenders for part of a $500
million Auckland urban rail project to build 38 three-car,
electric multiple units and 13 electric locomotives. It was
hoped some of the work would be done at Hillside.
Mr Quinn met Hillside staff in Dunedin on Wednesday to tell
them of that decision.
He said yesterday the Tranz Scenic contract was not ready to
unveil at this week's meeting. The two were "very different
He reiterated the scale of the Auckland job did not warrant
the size of "one-off" financial investment required for the
contract, whereas, he understood the Tranz Scenic contract
would be undertaken by existing staff and resources, without
need for any financial boost.
A one-third model of the Tranz Scenic carriages, and initial
work on construction of the first carriage, is to be unveiled
at Hillside on Monday.
Otago Chamber of Commerce chief executive John Christie, who
is chairman of a group pushing for Hillside to get the
Auckland work, said he was aware of a pending announcement,
but had no idea it was a $40 million contract.
"Nice. This is a real compliment to the staff of Hillside and
their abilities," Mr Christie said.
The choice was proof Hillside had the capacity to tender for
more work, backed up by other suppliers in the city.
"There are real opportunities here to work and bid for work
for the sake of Dunedin," Mr Christie said.
A KiwiRail spokesman said yesterday the carriages, designed
by KiwiRail Mechanical Design, were the first new carriages
entirely designed and built in New Zealand for many years.
Construction would be supported by "key New Zealand component
Hillside management was unavailable for comment yesterday.
• Worth $40 million.
• 14 new NZ-designed carriages.
• 3 buffet cars.
• 3 open air viewing carriages (conversions).