More jobs in pipeline for revived Hillside

South Dunedin's Hillside workshops. Photo: ODT
South Dunedin's Hillside workshops. Photo: ODT
Six years after they were shuttered, the South Dunedin Hillside workshops are slowly coming back to life.

KiwiRail is advertising for tradespeople to work on wagon conversions at the workshops in Hillside Rd.

The advertisement says the work is varied and will cover all aspects of locomotive and wagon maintenance and repair.

People having experience working with heavy plant and machinery, heavy automobiles, locomotives, and ships are encouraged to apply.

KiwiRail rolling stock asset services general manager Adam Williams said about six new jobs were expected to be added to the 12 staff already working at the workshops.

There had been significant growth in forestry logs being transported by rail, and KiwiRail had been preparing for some time for the ''Wall of Wood'' to come on stream, Mr Williams said.

Part of KiwiRail's strategy involved converting existing container wagons to transport logs.

As logs did not put as much demand on a wagon as containers, converting them was reasonably straightforward, he said.

Some of those conversions would take place at Hillside.

Details on the new six-month fixed-term roles were being finalised, he said.

Rail and Maritime Transport Union general secretary Wayne Butson said this was just the first round of rail jobs likely to head south.

''The day they closed the workshops we said, 'We'll be back' and now we're most certainly back and it's great for Dunedin.''

Whatever work could not be completed at KiwiRail's Hutt Valley workshops would likely be moved to Hillside, Mr Butson said.

''There's likely to be some power-car work as well as the log wagon programme heading south and there is likely to be some electric loco work down in the South Island, too,'' he said.

Dunedin South MP Clare Curran said the news was an early Christmas present for the city.

While the number of jobs was relatively small, it was an indication of more to come as the Government increased its investment in rail, Ms Curran said.

''Rail right around the world is making a renaissance, and using the skills and capacity we have inside New Zealand to do the maintenance and rebuilds is incredibly important,'' she said.

tim.miller@odt.co.nz

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