Ōtepoti – The government’s $85 million decision to resuscitate Dunedin’s Hillside railway engineering workshops will be one of their greatest moves in office.
It will have substantial boost to the economy as New Zealand’s roads become more congested and dangerous with a plethora of trucks, rather than using rail.
The redevelopment of Dunedin’s Hillside railway workshop will begin later this year and the famous old Hillside site will not be a rusting old 19th century rail plant any longer.
The government has given the workshops $85 million to build a new wagon assembly facility. This is just the start of reigniting a transport system that will be able to be run by renewable energy.
Decades ago, the Hillside railway workshops were Dunedin’s single largest enterprise and employer.
KiwiRail will take on 45 new staff for wagon assembly and at least 10 percent of its new intake will be apprentices or trainees.
The investment is supporting the local economy with 250 construction jobs needed for the rebuild, KiwiRail group chief executive Greg Miller says.
The Kiwirail ethos of today is different to that of 2012 when it said wanted to sell the site.
Hillside was one of Dunedin’s biggest employers, and in its heyday employed more than 1000 people making railway engines and rolling stock. From next year, Hillside will not be a rusting old 19th century rail plant any longer.
It was first Hillside was established in 1901 by the New Zealand Railways, though workshops had existed close near there since 1875. Some of its notable managers have included the late Bob Smith, who stridently dealt with issues on site relating to the 1951 water front strike.