A new rail mechanical facility in Christchurch will support more than a hundred of construction jobs and help ensure efficient rail services for the South Island, KiwiRail Acting Group Chief Executive Todd Moyle says.
KiwiRail has signed a contract with South Island construction firm Calder Stewart to build a multi-million dollar mechanical hub at the Waltham rail yard in Christchurch.
“Alongside the substantial Government investment in new South Island locomotives and in wagon assembly at Dunedin’s Hillside Workshops, the Waltham Mechanical Hub is another major rail investment for the South Island,” Mr Moyle says.
“Waltham will be the main locomotive, passenger carriage and wagon maintenance facility for the entire island, and is crucial to the resilience, reliability and efficiency of all our South Island operations.
“Following a robust tender process, it is a pleasure to partner on the hub build with Calder Stewart, which started in Milton in the 1950s. This project alone will support around 105 construction jobs and see money going back into the local and regional economy.”
Calder Stewart’s Chief Executive Darren Evans says: “We are delighted to have secured the project, as it will be one of our major anchor projects in the Christchurch region. The team has worked hard to find an innovative solution given the challenges of the site in Waltham. We are looking forward to working with KiwiRail and demonstrating our capability to deliver large scale design build projects such as the Waltham Mechanical Hub”.
Mr Moyle says the new Waltham hub had a number of benefits for KiwiRail.
“It allows us to bring together staff from a number of existing rail facilities, which are at the end of life and spread out across the Christchurch, into a single, modern purpose-built facility.
“It builds on the new Scenic service facility at Waltham, which was completed earlier this year, and is another major step as we rebuild rail in the South Island and New Zealand.”
The new Waltham Mechanical Hub will be 9,200 square metres in size. It will house 21 maintenance berths, an underfloor wheel lathe and other specialist rail maintenance equipment such as a wheelset drop table and locomotive axle weigh systems. Twenty-four office-based staff will also move into the hub to support the maintenance activity.
Design is underway and construction of the hub is expected to begin in the second quarter of 2022.
It is part of a wider redevelopment of the Waltham site, including the Scenic facility and rail yard improvements.
Funding for the Waltham Mechanical Hub comes from the Government’s Crown Infrastructure Partners Shovel-Ready Fund and recent Budgets.