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Any lingering hopes KiwiRail's Hillside workshops might get the chance to build trains for Auckland have been dashed.
KiwiRail chief executive Jim Quinn met staff in Dunedin yesterday to break the news the workshop would not be bidding for the contract believed to be worth around $375 million.
Speaking to the Otago Daily Times afterwards, Mr Quinn said the decision was made because he believed the New Zealand workshops could not deliver in the required timeframe and at a price that would be competitive with overseas manufacturers.
Mr Quinn said there were discussions over promoting the workshops to get into more non-rail manufacturing and he was currently awaiting the outcome of a bid for an international contract.
He would not be specific about the contract, but hoped to hear within a few weeks.
A Berl Economics report commissioned by the Dunedin City Council and the Rail and Maritime Transport Union had highlighted the capacity of the Hillside workshops and showed big economic gains in getting much of the work done in New Zealand.
Transport Minister Steven Joyce dismissed the report within hours of its release, saying it was based on "highly debateable assumptions".
On Tuesday, Kiwirail all but ruled out its own workshops, including Dunedin's Hillside workshops, being given the chance to "have a crack" at tendering to build $375 million worth of passenger trains for Auckland
Chief executive Jim Quinn said then KiwiRail was "unlikely to be a bidder".
"We haven't made our final call on this, but you can tell from the work we've done though that the logic is to not be part of this," he said.
"KiwiRail is preparing to put out tenders internationally for the supply of 38 three-car, electric multiple units (EMUs) and 13 electric locomotives for Auckland urban rail development."