Dunedin's longest-serving current KiwiRail employee, Kevin
Martin, is happy to share his enthusiasm during
celebrations for the 150th anniversary of rail in New
Zealand, being held at the Dunedin Railway Station
tomorrow. Photo by Gerard O'Brien.
A life without the railway is not worth imagining for
long-serving KiwiRail employee Kevin Martin.
The Dunedin resident is a third generation rail worker and
will be involved in celebrations for the 150th anniversary of
rail in New Zealand at the Dunedin Railway Station tomorrow.
Mr Martin (60) has worked for KiwiRail, in its many forms,
for 44 years and has been an engine driver for 37 years.
His grandfather worked throughout the country maintaining the
railway from 1928, and his father started making steam
engines at South Dunedin's Hillside Engineering Workshops in
Mr Martin began working at Hillside in the stores office in
1969, and after about eight years moved on to locomotives.
He was among the first drivers in the ''all diesel loco
school'', which replaced steam.
''It's a terribly good job. Working in rail is more of a
career than a job, almost like a calling.''
Tomorrow, Mr Martin and another Dunedin engine driver will
show people around a locomotive cab as part of a rail
roadshow which has been travelling the country this month for
the 150th celebrations.
The travelling rail exhibition showcased the evolution of
rail in New Zealand and comprised four individually themed
educational containers about the industry.
Entertainment and a locomotion dance challenge would also be
staged at the railway station between 10am and 4pm.
Mr Martin said rail had a special significance in New Zealand
and continued to provide a cost-effective means of
transporting goods and people.
''Rail is something like five times more fuel-efficient than
trucks. It's expanding as well, we've got more tonnage than
we can handle and the trains are always full.''
From Dunedin he regularly drove trains up to Timaru and down
Mr Martin said driving trains brought a great sense of
achievement and he would recommend a career in rail to
He was the longest-serving KiwiRail employee still working in
Dunedin and had no plans to give up the title.
''I'll be going until I'm 65.''