Waltham Mechanical Hub

A new rail mechanical facility is being built at KiwiRail’s Waltham yard in Christchurch, further strengthening our South Island operations.

Waltham will become the main South Island locomotive, passenger carriage and wagon maintenance facility. With 57 new low-emissions locomotives due to join the South Island fleet from 2024, this purpose-built mechanical hub will support the future resilience and efficiency of our operations.

The hub will bring together KiwiRail staff from existing sites in Addington, Middleton, and Waltham into a single, modern facility.

The 9,200 square metre building will house 25 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.

Funding for the Waltham Mechanical Hub comes from the Government’s Crown Infrastructure Partners Shovel-Ready Fund and recent Budgets.


Digital model of the new mechanical facility at Waltham
Waltham hub artists impression 1

Local jobs

Our main construction partner for the project is South Island firm Calder Stewart. The hub build will support around 100 construction jobs and see money going back into the local and regional economy. HEB Construction is carrying out rail yard civil works.

Construction timeline

Demolition began on site in late 2021. Once the site was cleared, 468 piles were installed 26 metres deep into the Riccarton gravels. By the end of 2022 foundations for the new building will be complete and erection of the steel frames will be well underway. 

Digital modeling shows the 468 piles installed 26 metres deep into the ground.
Waltham hub piles

Rail yard improvements are also underway on site. KiwiRail is installing 33 track turnouts in the yard (a mixture of new and refurbished) and five kilometres of track. There will be another kilometre of new rail installed within the building and its concrete aprons.

The locomotive and passenger maintenance facilities will be up and running early in 2024 with the full hub expected to be completed by the end of 2024.

New automated train wash

As part of the redevelopment at Waltham, a new train wash and service facility opened in 2021.The centre is where carriages for Coastal Pacific and TranzAlpine trains come before and after each journey for servicing, maintenance and a clean.

The new train wash system is fully automated and uses smart technology to recognise the type of carriage being cleaned. Once the brushes and rollers have down their work, the carriages are dried, ready for their next adventure.

Go behind the scenes and watch our new automated train wash cleaning carriages

We partnered with HRS Construction for the train wash build. Our main electrical contractor for the project, Aotea Electric Canterbury, won gold at the Master Electricians New Zealand Excellence Awards 2022 for their work on the Service Centre. Read more here: Master Electricians Awards Of Excellence Gold Winners | Aotea Electric Canterbury