In a move widely anticipated but never the less unfortunate, Hilside Railway Workshops in Dunedin is to finally close down. Dunedin, no doubt, wil be gutted by the annoucement but there is a sense of the inevtiable about it given the direction of KiwiRail in recent years and how they placed more and more rolling stock construction work off shore.
The good news is that the foundry will remain and is being sold as a going concern to Bradken.
The press release follows:
Future of Hillside Workshops Resolved
15 November 2012
The future of Hillside Workshops in Dunedin has been resolved after an extensive national and international search was undertaken for potential purchasers for the site. Unfortunately that process did not result in any purchaser for the entire Hillside business.
KiwiRail has entered into a conditional agreement to sell the Foundry to Bradken who will continue to operate the site, including supplying parts to KiwiRail as required. The sale is expected to be completed early next year.
KiwiRail’s freight business will now operate the heavy lift facility and the rest of the site will be progressively closed down over the next few months as work is either completed or transferred to the Hutt Workshops near Wellington.
According to Chief Executive, Jim Quinn, while it was unfortunate the company couldn’t finalise a purchaser for the whole business, he was pleased there will still be some operations continuing at the site. “Despite a rigorous sales campaign there simply wasn’t a buyer out there for the whole operation,” he said.
“As one of only a few foundry operations in New Zealand, Bradken could see the potential for this part of Hillside and we will be contracting some work to them as required. But, as an international engineering enterprise, they will also be able to access a larger business market with more product scope than the foundry’s largely ‘rail only’ focus.”
The decision to sell Hillside was made following a thorough analysis of both the current work and future prospects for the Workshops which concluded there is not enough work to cover the costs to run the site, particularly when the existing rail capital projects end.
“KiwiRail alone could not afford the future operating costs to keep Hillside open in the face of this decreasing work,” he said.
“Hillside has made an important contribution to the development of rail in New Zealand since 1875 and this won’t be forgotten. Many will be sad about its closure, however change is necessary as we continue to build a sustainable rail business for the challenges ahead.”
“This will be very difficult for our staff and although some will be transferred to Bradken or the KiwiRail Freight business, there will be redundancies,” said Mr Quinn.
“We will be working closely with the Hillside team and their representatives as we progress to the next stage and start to wind down operations.” Locomotive, engine, bogie and wheel refurbishment capability will continue to be provided to KiwiRail by the Hutt Workshops.
Information about Bradken Bradken
Employs over 6,000 people and is a global designer, manufacturer and supplier of differentiated capital and consumable products to the mining and construction, rail and transit, energy and general industrial markets.
The company’s global footprint includes 34 manufacturing facilities throughout Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, China, the United States of America, Canada, Malaysia and Indonesia supported by a global network of sales and service facilities. The driving force behind the company is a commitment to innovation and continuous improvement.
Bradken’s aim is to provide all customers with value through the creation of specialised product solutions. Bradken’s Dunedin foundry employs 50 people and supplies high quality iron and steel castings to a range of New Zealand and overseas based general industrial and mining customers.