New Zealand rail operator KiwiRail has unveiled details of a redevelopment project for its Hillside railway workshop, which will commence this year.

The project will involve a new mechanical workshop, which will allow work on around 20 locomotives or wagons simultaneously.

A new wagon assembly facility will be built, enabling the assembling of two wagons in a day.

KiwiRail plans to assemble at least 1,500 wagons over the next three years.

New shared offices and workshops will be established for KiwiRail’s track maintenance and signals workers to shift to the site.

Equipment and machinery such as electric shunt engines, heavy lift cranes, jacks, and a new traverser, will also be included in the workshop.

After the completion of the work, nearly 100 KiwiRail people will work from the workshop.

Last week, the New Zealand Government allocated nearly $935m (NZD1.3bn) for the region’s rail development in Budget 2021.

Under the budget, around $61.17m (NZD85m) was granted for the development of domestic rail workshops at Hillside, Dunedin.

In 2019, nearly $14.39m (NZD20m) was invested through the Provincial Growth Fund for the re-establishment of the mechanical workshop at Hillside.

KiwiRail Group CEO Greg Miller said: “These government investments, together with funding from KiwiRail, will see Hillside revitalised over the next few years, creating jobs, new skills, and guaranteeing the future of the historic Dunedin site.

“The investment is supporting the local economy with 250 construction jobs needed for the rebuild. Wagon assembly itself means KiwiRail will take on 45 staff for new roles in producing wagons, instead of importing them fully assembled.”

KiwiRail stated that the staged demolition will start this year and the new site is anticipated to start operations by 2023.