$13.5m Parnell Stop Detailed
The final ever ARC full council meeting has pushed forward the plan for a niche heritage Parnell train station adjacent to Mainline Steam off Cheshire St to enable people to get to the museum and Parnell village.
It will cost between $13.2-15.2 million, including $5.5m for track modifications.
The meeting urged KiwiRail and the new Auckland supercouncil to start on it as soon as possible. The previous council had shown support for the idea.
The urgency is because of electrification work.
Enabling works for electrification between Newmarket Tunnel and The Strand are currently programmed to take place in July or August 2011. Re-grading of the track along this section would involve significant rework of the electrification infrastructure. The meeting urged that a definite decision on the future Parnell station should be addressed by Auckland Council and Auckland Transport with urgency, in order to integrate works and avoid costly reworking.
A concept design for a new station at Parnell has been developed by ARTA in conjunction with KiwiRail.
Key elements of the design include side platforms with the usual train furniture on the western platform and the use of the old original Newmarket heritage station, which was removed to make way for the new station. It would be refurbished and relocated on the eastern platform.
Lifts and an overbridge will be required for access and egress to the east and west platforms. The lifts and overbridge will also serve to connect the Parnell centre to the east of the station with the domain, the proposed new Carlaw Park development and the University further to the west.
In order to meet rail and platform gradient requirements the rail track will need to be re-graded over approximately a kilometre of track and crossover points critical for access to The Strand will need to be relocated. Modification of the access tracks to the MLS Depot is also required. KiwiRail have undertaken preliminary track design and have determined that these modifications are feasible.
Relocation and refurbishment of the Newmarket Heritage Building has a budget of $4.2m carried forward by Kiwirail from an earlier government commitment. While there is no detailed costing available at this stage for the relocation and refurbishment, unspent funds from this budget could be utilized for other purposes such as track modifications.
Platforms, overbridges, lifts, platform equipment and retaining walls are estimated to cost between $3.5 to $5.5m. This includes certain below track works including construction of platforms and any retaining structures required. By comparison, Grafton station cost $3m.
The ARC report says: “This Kiwirail owned site clearly has potential for development as an integrated transit- oriented development, and this could potentially provide opportunities for private sector funding. Parnell Inc have shared their views with the council that in their view that the MLS building could be sued for alternative suitable uses, such as a museum and space for local exhibitions and small businesses, etc, and include rail heritage.
On the issue of NZ Bus wanting to use the site as a bus depot, chair Mike Lee reported he had suggested the idea of using the former and now disused Nelson Street motorway off ramp. NZ Bus was enthusiastic about the idea and is investigating the feasibility including issues around access.
Discussions have been held by ARTA with the developer of the Carlaw Park site. It said the developer is receptive to aligning access arrangements within the Carlaw Park site with the station accesses. This will not only give good access to the station for rail patronage but will also facilitate good quality connectivity between the east and west of the station which is currently poor and inconvenient.
KiwiRail has indicated it will be working with Mainline Steam to determine the future occupation of the Parnell site or an alternative. If MLS remain at Parnell (which is the preference of MLS supported by the Transport and Urban Development Committee), discussions with MLS indicate that the track modifications could work in their favour. Currently the length of the siding is not sufficient to make up a full length excursion train and involves considerable amount of shunting and manoeuvring. The proposed track modifications would enable MLS to make up a full excursion train with the strong potential to operate excursions direct from Parnell. ”This in itself affords a new station at Parnell a high profile.”
MLS have also indicated that they would be keen to utilise the refurbished Newmarket Heritage Station as their administration office.