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New rail maintenance hub for Christchurch

Violet French
KiwiRail locomotives  Supplied

Government pledges $35 million for KiwiRail locomotive repair workshop in Waltham.

This weeks' budget delivery signals good news for rail manufacturing and maintenance in the South Island and Christchurch in particular.

Plans to create a Christchurch-based maintenance hub were confirmed as part of the $1.5 billion set aside for rail projects in the government's budget this year.

KiwiRail's chief operating officer for construction and delivery, Robert Gibbs, said the construction of the $35 million Waltham-based hub would get under way by the end of October. The estimated completion date was late 2023. 

The new facility would employ about 300 people.

Dunedin's Hillside Workshops was also receiving a cash injection.

While KiwiRail is replacing its fleet in the North Island with electric carriages, the new workers in the South Island will be maintaining existing locomotives and wagons.