KiwRail gets money in the budget to replace old locomotives. Photo / Bevan Conley
KiwiRail plans to replace its aging locomotives in the South Island and assemble wagons locally after it was voted $ 1.3 billion for rail in the budget, CEO Greg Miller said.
He said the investment will mean work for 600 entrepreneurs, create 200 jobs for the state-owned rail company and mean money will flow back to the regions to help New Zealand recover from the economic impacts of Covid-19.
âKiwiRail has already replaced its aging North Island locomotive fleet, and this latest round of funding will fully cover the cost of replacing our South Island locomotives, many of which are over 40 years old, and the cost of replacing our South Island locomotives. purchase of new electric bypass locomotives. “
Miller said the money would also allow KiwiRail to build a new South Island rolling stock maintenance hub at Waltham in Christchurch and build a new facility at Hillside Workshops in Dunedin to assemble rail cars in New York. -Zeeland.
âThis is an exceptional level of government investment that is truly revitalizing rail for New Zealand,â Miller said, adding he had built over $ 1.2 billion for rail. in last year’s budget and $ 1 billion in 2019.
Of the $ 1.3 billion allocated to KiwiRail, $ 810 million came from increased investment in infrastructure, which Infrastructure Minister Grant Robertson said rose from $ 42.4 billion out of four. years at the start of this legislature to $ 57.3 billion.
The extra money for KiwiRail has been criticized by the Taxpayers Union, which was particularly damning of the railroad car construction projects in New Zealand.
The local wagons, spokesman Jordan Williams said, were a “throwback to the Polish shipyard economy of the 1980s”.
Miller said KiwiRail would hire around 200 additional employees to
Track maintenance and renewal work across the country and railcar assembly at Hillside and commit to 10 percent of new hires being apprentices or interns.
Another 600 contractors will be needed to modernize and build new facilities, especially in the South Island, he said.
$ 722.7 million more than six years to complete the purchase of new main locomotives, shunt locomotives and essential cars, to replace those at the end of their useful life; complete upgrades to maintenance facilities that are no longer fit for purpose.
$ 449.9 million Supplement to the two-year National Land Transport Fund to fund the first three years of a 10-year plan to raise New Zealand’s rail network to a resilient and reliable level.
$ 87.3 million final payout of working capital for core asset management over three years to ensure core freight, tourism and real estate assets can be sustained until new rolling stock / ferries / facilities are operational.
$ 85 million more than five years to build railcar assembly facilities at Hillside shops, in addition to the previous $ 20 million investment from the Provincial Growth Fund to upgrade existing maintenance facilities at Hillside.