Maintenance, upgrade roles for Hillside site

Kiwirail management is deep in the planning stages of improvements for its Hillside workshops, in South Dunedin, which will allow it to do more maintenance and upgrade work on locomotives and wagons.

Plans to revitalise the workshops were given a major shunt forward in October 2019 when the Government invested $19.97million into the redevelopment project through its Provincial Growth Fund.

The first stage of the project was to demolish two disused and dilapidated buildings. Demolition began in January last year and was completed by June.

A KiwiRail spokeswoman said the demolitions created space for potential redevelopment of the area in the future, which could include complementary businesses moving into the site.

"KiwiRail is planning to replace its existing workshop at Hillside with a more modern, fit-for-purpose facility.

"We are currently in the detailed planning and design phase for this new facility.

"Improvements on the site will allow KiwiRail to maintain a lot more locomotives and wagons and undertake a range of new work, such as heavy maintenance and upgrades."

Last year, KiwiRail property group general manager Stephanie Campbell said it was hoped the site would also become a centre for engineering excellence in the South Island, by attracting complementary businesses such as manufacturing, fabrication and potentially marine engineering.

She said Hillside would become a vital part of KiwiRail’s South Island freight and tourism operations, and during the next three years, it was expected to create about 40 new jobs, including skilled mechanical and electrical positions.

Most work at Hillside ended in 2012, after KiwiRail awarded an estimated $29million manufacturing contract to a Chinese company.

Since then, some work has continued and private companies have used the workshops.

Bradken has used the foundry, and luxury train company Antipodean Explorer has upgraded carriages at the site.

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