Thirty Hillside workers have left the historic engineering facility for good, as the first of almost 90 redundant staff to complete their workload.
A further 35 workers will finish on December 21, when a function will be held to mark the end of full operations at the 130-year-old South Dunedin facility.
KiwiRail planned to keep seven staff for Hillside's heavy lift operation and a further 18 were expected to be employed by Bradken in its lease of the foundry.
Twenty workers would help KiwiRail close the rest of the workshops over the next few months and then be made redundant.
Those first to leave clocked out on Friday and enjoyed a few quiet drinks, union representatives said.
They would be welcomed back to Hillside for the social club's main event on December 21.
''It's going to be what would have been our Christmas do,'' Rail and Maritime Transport Union Hillside branch secretary Les Ingram said.
A wreath-laying ceremony at Hillside on December 21 was also being considered.
The partial closure of Hillside continued to be a topic of discussion in Parliament this week, when Prime Minister John Key received further criticism from Labour Party and union members.