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Contractors started removing asbestos cladding from one of the old workshops late last month, while wearing protective clothing and breathing apparatus.
Now, the remainder of the structure is about to be demolished.
The demolition is part of KiwiRail’s plan to revitalise the Hillside workshops and make way for improved facilities which will allow KiwiRail to maintain more locomotives and wagons, and undertake new types of work, as well as attract complementary businesses.
It is one of two vacant workshops which will be demolished at the site over the next two months.
It is hoped the demolition will open the way for Hillside to become a centre for engineering excellence in the South Island, by attracting complementary businesses such as manufacturing, fabrication and potentially marine engineering to the site.
KiwiRail property group general manager Stephanie Campbell said the Government invested $19.97million into the redevelopment project last October through its Provincial Growth Fund.
She said the next step was to upgrade the main rail workshops on the site, including overhauling the ageing heavy-lift crane and traverser.
Hillside was expected to become a vital part of KiwiRail’s South Island freight and tourism operations, creating about 40 new jobs during the next three years, she said.
Most work at Hillside ended in 2012, after KiwiRail awarded an estimated $29million manufacturing contract to a Chinese company — a terminal blow.
Since then, some work has continued and private companies have used workshops.
Bradken has used the foundry, and luxury train company Antipodean Explorer has upgraded carriages at the site.