Hillside redevelopment takes major step forward

State Owned Enterprises

A major redevelopment of Dunedin’s iconic Hillside Workshops is on track to have the facility up and running by early 2024, Minister for State Owned Enterprises, Dr David Clark said.

The Government is investing $105 million in KiwiRail’s Hillside Workshops – helping restore the site to its former glory by enabling wagon assembly, locomotive and wagon maintenance, and track workers from across Dunedin to be based there.

Last week, Otago-based construction firm, Calder Stewart, was awarded the construction contract to carry out the work.

“Hillside has been an important part of the Dunedin community for almost 150 years, employing many thousands of locals over that time. After facing closure in 2012, this Government is giving the facility a new lease of life by supporting more apprenticeships and creating new skilled jobs for Kiwis by assembling rail wagons here in New Zealand,” David Clark said.

“The investment also benefits the regional economy, supporting more than 200 construction-related jobs.

“Over last nine months there has been a lot going on at Hillside, as unfit buildings have been torn down and demolished. But now, the rebuild really gets going.”

A number of deteriorating, old buildings have been removed, and a new, modern mechanical and assembly workshop will begin emerging out of the ground later this year. This will be followed by new offices, a track depot and new rail layouts.

“We are committed to reinvigorating the country’s railway after decades of under-investment. This helps us get more of our growing freight volumes off the roads and onto rail, reducing congestion and transport emissions,” David Clark said.

The Hillside redevelopment is funded through $85 million in Budget 2021, to enable wagon assemble, and close to $20 million through the Provincial Growth Fund, to upgrade maintenance and other facilities. 

Once the rebuild is complete, more than 170 people will be working at Hillside, including about 45 new staff needed to assemble around 1,500 wagons. 10% of any new staff will be apprentices and trainees.