KiwiRail’s Hutt Workshops has marked its 90th birthday and is ready to play its part in the renaissance of rail.
Transport Minister Phil Twyford, Lower Hutt Mayor Campbell Barry, RMTU General Secretary Wayne Butson and other guests joined about 200 current and former staff at the workshops in Lower Hutt today as part of anniversary celebrations.
When it was first opened back in the 1930s Hutt Workshops was considered among the most modern engineering plants in the country.
Locomotives for New Zealand were built and maintained on site, including steam locomotives, along with a host of other rail work. However by the 1980’s it was in significant decline.
KiwiRail’s Chief Operating Officer - Capital Projects and Asset Development, David Gordon, says the workshop has a significant history and today is in a growth phase.
“The work being done at Hutt Workshops is crucial for a number of new rail projects,” Mr Gordon says.
“Carriages for the new Hamilton to Auckland commuter services are being completely refurbished at Hutt, work has begun on the electric locomotives, and our technicians and fabricators will also be refurbishing carriages for the Capital Connection passenger train that runs between Palmerston North and Wellington.
“This work has allowed us to take on 40 staff in the last year. We currently have 10 apprentices and will be taking on more in the years ahead. KiwiRail is focused on attracting more young people to a career in rail, and there is a wealth of experience in the staff at Hutt Workshops to pass on to the next generation.”
Almost $18 million dollars from Budget 2019 will be invested in strengthening and upgrading some buildings on the site and KiwiRail is investing a further $20 million to install a new wheel shop at the site.