Strand Re-Opens (Update)

 

The old new railway stop at Parnell’s The Strand had its official re-opening this morning after its recent makeover into a stabling yard and emergency stop.

Auckland Transport with partner KiwiRail restored the former station to operational level during the last six months.

The $1.7 million project involved the raising and resurfacing of platforms and removing severely degraded platform canopies.  The stabling yard now has new tracks, signalling equipment, several new passenger access points, improved lighting and security.

Platform work included:

  • Raising and resurfacing of both platforms
  • Removal of severely degraded platform canopies in the usable platform area
  •  Installation of new lighting and public address systems
  •  Installation of several new access routes to enable safe movement of large passenger numbers
  •  Installation of wayfinding and station signage
  • Retention of representative section of canopies in the non-operational platform area.

The station served Auckland as its Parnell-based main Auckland railway station for 70 years but since the opening of Britomart has been used only by rail enthusiast steam train groups.

Now it comes into its own with the Rugby World Cup as an emergency station if anything goes wrong with Britomart and trains can use the Strand instead to get fans to Eden Park.

Two sections of the old canopy on one of the 5 platforms were kept and paths put in for passengers to use if Britomart became unavailable.
The sections retained are outside the operational platform area, and with the help of the Historic Places Trust there will be visuals and text displays so people know the history of what was there.

Plaque commemorating Auckland Rail Station the Strand

The ceremony was led by Ngati Whatua kaumatua Bob Hawke and attended by Auckland Council Cr. Mike Lee who is also a Board member of Auckland Transport.

Mike Lee and Bob Hawke

Hopefully it will continue as an emergency stop after the Cup and find a life of its own.

In fact it was trialled by a Silver Fern recently as part of the investigations into running a Waikato-Auckland commuter service.

If Waikato local bodies agree to fund such a service, the trains will stop at the Strand.

Anyway watching out of a Western Line train window in recent years would have been dismayed at the neglect shown at the site of the Strand platforms so it’s good to see a revival.

The railway station was moved from its original downtown location in 1930 to the Strand in Parnell.

Built by the Public Works Department in 1928-1930, the ornate Beaux Arts-style building was intended to stand as a gateway to the city, and its construction involved the largest independent contract issued in New Zealand at £320,000.

In its heyday, politicians and other important people would arrive at the three-storey building by driving up a sweeping ramp on either side of the building, enclosing a landscaped garden immediately to the front.

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21 Comments

 
  1. Rene says:

    So does this mean The Strand is now a scheduled stop on the regular daily communter service, or is it only being used for emergencies and boutique excursions?

  2. AKT says:

    @Rene No only for emergency purposes but there are plans for a Parnell stop further down the track outside Mainline Steam. http://www.aktnz.co.nz/2011/07/14/how-parnell-will-look/

  3. donna says:

    Gosh, this is embarrassing. It’s essentially an admission that the rail network is extremely vulnerable to disruption and that Auckland’s best Plan B is the old railway station. And it doesn’t matter how many coats of paint and pedestrian paths they give it, it still looks and feels like a frontier outpost in Uzbekistan.
    And why on earth would you have commuter rail from anywhere stop at the Strand unless you were setting it up to fail? No, really?

  4. AKT says:

    @Donna I think that’s a bit harsh.
    Some clown may stage a bomb hoax which closes down Britomart while they determine it’s a hoax and rugby fans going by train will miss the game.Then people will ask why there wasn’t an emergency plan in place. This is it.

  5. Carl says:

    Agreed with AKT, and besides this place has Character, I just hope they work out how to use it correctly after the Cup is gone.

    The area must have some decent land Value? It needs to be fixed up and possibly redeveloped around the train lines.

    the car park out front should also be removed or have a roof place on it and the gardens lawn area returned to its former beauty.

  6. Jon Reeves says:

    Fine for the RWC, but for waikato rail it needs to go into Britomart. If it cannot go there then the National Party Govt, including the “White Elephant of Transport” Steven Joyce, has no option but to commit to the rail link tunnel.

    The real question is, does Joyce have the draw gear to do so against his political party funders? I doubt it.We know where his seed is sown.

  7. DanC says:

    If Britomart had a problem, I wouldn’t mind being let off at the Strand at all. Having options is good.

  8. Newnewt says:

    Directing/shepherding thousands of anxious rugby fans via the convoluted route from Britomart to the back of the old railway station will be a serious challenge if it ever eventuates. The final section is a pathway about 2 meters wide that winds it way under the ramp in front of the old railway station, alongside the tracks and then across the tracks to reach the vestiges of the old outdoor platforms.

  9. geoff_184 says:

    That plaque is quite misleading, as the status of the Strand hasn’t changed. It has been available for use throughout, and nothing has reopened in September of 2011.

    BTW, the stabling yard hasn’t been built yet. It will go on the north side of the station.

  10. Carl says:

    $1.7 million clearly as the pictures show, really buys your FA these days.

  11. Jacky says:

    well, it looks really nice, but the looks of it everyday, I can see the entry points is from Eastern line end (mission bay ends), so do they have the track for Western line and southern line to go into that emergency station?

    Jacky

  12. Max says:

    Carl, the photos don’t really show much – riding past yesterday, it looks alright. Just a standard Auckland rail stop.

    And I agree with the commentors who agree that it’s good to have as an emergency option. Even if Steven Joyce said “lets build the CBD tunnel’” today, we’d not have it for 5-15 years, so complaining that the Strand is not what we want is exactly…. useless. We need to work with what we have.

  13. Max says:

    Jacky, I didn’t look at it closely, but I believe it can be entered by trains from the southern and western lines.

    Just look at the aerial photographs on Google Maps, it looks easily accessible on the old photos, and I can’t believe they would have made it WORSE, especially when it is intended to be a RWC alternative, so needs to cover the Southern and Western.

  14. Jacky says:

    Hi Max

    Not that I am aware of, i look at it every day, can not see anything that the southern and western can go change track to the right hand side (from parnell side).

    There is another alternative, after the train come out from britomart, go thru the curve, then stop, get the driver come out, and back in to that station haha

  15. Max says:

    I was thinking of this – but fair enough, I am a European at heart still, so sometimes I forget that trains here drive on the left too…

    http://maps.google.co.nz/maps?q=the+strand+auckland&hl=en&ll=-36.848692,174.777689&spn=0.000893,0.001742&sll=-41.244772,172.617188&sspn=54.320071,114.169922&vpsrc=6&t=h&z=20

  16. geoff_184 says:

    Trains can enter the station from either end, doesn’t matter if they are Eastern, Southern, Western or Onehunga services, they can all go straight in. Trains from Newmarket on the Up Main will use the crossover at Parnell.

  17. Mike says:

    “The railway station was moved from its original downtown location in 1930″ – no, the original 1873 railway station was near Kings Wharf, moved west to Britomart about 10 years later, then to Beach Rd in 1930.

    And the plaque’s claim that the 1930 site was “Auckland’s first major railway hub” is rather questionable!

  18. geoff_184 says:

    Further to my earlier message, the plaque is in fact completely wrong. August 2011 has actually marked the closure of Strand station to the public. It is fully fenced off, gates padlocked, and no tresspassing signs have gone up. It is illegal to enter the platforms there, by punishments of up to six months in prison or a $20,000 fine. In other words, it is now a part of the normal rail operating zone, and has ceased to be publicly accessible.

    The plaque should read “Opened November 1930, Closed August 2011″.

  19. Max says:

    Geoff, in France, you can’t enter the TGV rail corridors at all – huge electrified fences all around. And many rail systems the world over restrict even all access to the train stations to a) people with tickets and b) restrict access to during operating hours only.

    So to claim that just because you can’t access a station while it is NOT IN OPERATION it is therefore “closed to the public”, is way over the top.

  20. Andrew says:

    I just stumbled upon this station while going for a walk. It is a huge let down to discover this station was built as a RWC emergency station only.

    How do they get away with a plaque saying it has been re-opened when it has clearly NOT re-opened, nor are there any plans of it being “open” in the near future.

    Here I was thinking that I would be able to use this station rather than walking 20 minutes to Britomart.

    This city is so backward!!!!

    The train and bus routes don’t go where we need them to go. The taxis cost a fortune. Looks like I’ll be driving for the rest of my life if I’m going to continue living here.

  21. Tony King says:

    Why is the strand station not connected by footbridge to the Vector Arena? Two trains could be waiting there at the end of every concert or event able to go in both directions one towards Oraki the other to Newmarket and beyond. It can also be a drop off point before the event. Why is it so hard to see this. At recent concerts we would have loved to have gone by train or ferry. Ferries don’t run late at night except Friday/Saturday, both concerts were early in the week. By train it would take an hour and a half to get home by the time we walked to Britomart, just missing a train and waited for the next. It took 10 minutes walk and 20 minutes by car. When will they wake up? The organisational skills of transport people and council is non existent. I could easily do a much better job of organising people in and out of the city, they should be able to do better than me.

 

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