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A $1.2 billion investment in KiwiRail does not include specific new funding for Dunedin’s Hillside workshop.
Yesterday’s Budget included $400 million to replace the Interislander ferries and improve portside infrastructure, $246million towards investment in track and supporting infrastructure and $421 million for new wagons and locomotives.
Dunedin South MP Clare Curran said she was still trying to get detail on what yesterday’s announcement meant for the workshop.
"Hillside currently carries out refurbishment work, including converting 130 container freight wagons to carry forestry logs last year.
"KiwiRail’s plan, over time, is to turn Hillside into a heavy engineering facility for the South Island that could be used, for example, to assemble rail wagons."
In a statement, KiwiRail chief operating officer capital projects David Gordon said there was no new funding specifically for Hillside, but the demolition of disused buildings and planning work to upgrade the two main workshops and build a new office block was well under way.
Hillside received $19.97 million through the Provincial Growth Fund last year for its redevelopment, which was expected to reinvigorate the workshop after most work ended there in 2012.
Since then, some work has continued and private companies have used workshops.
KiwiRail group chief executive Greg Miller welcomed yesterday’s funding boost, saying it sent a clear signal that rail has a big future.
"The Government’s investment allows us to continue with our locomotive replacement programme and raise the standard of our rail lines, bridges and tunnels across the country. "This will enable KiwiRail to offer better and more reliable train services for our customers, and move more of New Zealand’s growing freight task on to rail."
This article first appeared on www.odt.co.nz
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