ARC Opt For Museum Train Stop


The ARC wants the Mainline Steam site at Cheshire St to be the location of a Parnell train stop.
And today’s transport and urban development committee strongly opposed plans by KiwiRail to lease the present historic Mainline Steam buildings to NZ Bus as a bus depot.
ARC Chair Mike Lee labelled the KiwiRail plan “bizarre” and said the roads around the area were narrow and steep and buses rolling through them to go to the depot would degrade life for neighbourhood residents.
With only the vote of councillor Bill Burrell against, the committee passed a resolution to convey that view to KiwiRail “in the strongest terms.”
Members strengthened their proposed resolutions to make it clear that they saw the role of the proposed Parnell station as a “niche station for visitors to the heritage Parnell precinct and the Auckland War Memorial Museum.”
Mike Lee was alarmed at the thought of rekindling the argument whether the station should be there or in the Beach Rd/ Stanley St area of Carlaw Park saying what was proposed was not a station for commuting tertiary students but one purposely designed to service the major tourist destination of the museum and highlight and promote the historic Parnell village and the area around it.
He said it was not intended as a primary stop for Auckland University students who are well served by Britomart East and the free inner-city bus service.
The chairman said that Carlaw Park were to become a serious option, it would, for one thing, necessitate the cost of a bridge across the lanes of the busy arterial road that cuts through the Stanley St area.

Parnell stop options | ARC

It was revealed today that KiwiRail is  proposing to use the Mainline Steam site to grant a five to seven year lease to NZ Bus with the possibility of it becoming permanent and possibly replacing the present NZ Bus depot in the Wynyward Quarter..
The stabling area would be for up to 60 Link buses a night and up to 20 during the day.

Looking inside the Mainline buildings, with room for big steam engines, there’s certainly room for big buses.

What's inside the Mainline building at the moment

The deal would involve clearing the site of all out-buildings, including demolishing the one-storey section of the eastern side of the carriage works/Mainline Steam building referred to as a a “lean to” but the main building would remain in the interim.
Longer term, use of the site, which is prime real estate, would probably include a three-bedroom apartment complex.
The committee’s resolution said it considered the use of the site “inappropriate for bus stabling due to its topography, access through narrow streets, traffic issues, its historic residential character and the risk of foreclosing future options to transit-orientated development and urban regeneration.”
Members of Parnell group, Parnell Inc, which has been pressing for the heritage train stop, were present at today’s meeting and at one point loudly clapped councillor Sandra Coney who gave a passionate speech about Auckland being sick of things like the new prison building towering over Auckland Grammar school grounds.
Part of the group’s plan, and encouraged by the ARC committee, is for the remains of the old Newmarket railway station, including the old signal box presently in storage, to be included at the site.
The committee reiterated its desire to see the Newmarket heritage station building used to enhance the heritage character of the area.
Other aims of the Parnell Inc plan include:

  • Turning Parnell inwards towards the Domain and re-establishing a gateway to the Domain (the original Domain steps are from Parnell adjacent to the Cheshire Street site). The idea is to establish a grand connection through a wide underpass and steps between the train station and the Museum.
  • Revitalising the back of Parnell through substantial new built development (apartments, offices, student accommodation) integrated within a comprehensive 2.5ha Cheshire St project and restoration of character railway buildings for new arts activities
  • Creating and supporting existing tourist destinations and providing effective transport links
  • ‘Daylighting” the Waipapa Stream and re-establishing green links or the potential for recreational trails (cycleways) through the historic Waipapa Valley

    Buses would replace big steam trains in the Mainline building

There’s still no word on what’s happening with the plan for Mainline Steam to have to move to Ranui.
Auckland City Council’s city development committtee also supported the location of a rail station at Cheshire St, adjacent to the Mainline building last November and a committee has since pushed for a cycleway in the area that could be used by university students going to the city campus.




  1. Scott says:

    The mainline steam location is 500 meters away from the museum as the crow flies. However there is an extremely rugged steep area of bush in between the two sites. This means it will provide relatively poor access to the museum

  2. Kurt says:

    Was this not the diesel loco workshops way back? Why do Kiwirail not use this place as a stabling and maintenance workshop for their trains? Its so much closer to Britomart and exactly what it was built for!

  3. ingolfson says:

    So KiwiRail putting buses in stabling here is “bizarre” because it is hard to access, but a train stop disconnected from anything but steep walks isn’t? Mike, please - don’t mar the end of the ARC with crazy projects.

  4. Ian M says:

    Are we sure this is the same Mike Lee?…I thought he was one of the few who had common sense. To discount Tertiary students (and workers in the Quay park area), in favour of a few people who may visit Parnell for lunch or possibly go on a bush walk on the way to the Museum, is unbelievable.

  5. Matt L says:

    It is stupidity and looking like a pet project to get local votes more and more rather than something that is actually beneficial to the region. This is a good example of why we need an independent transport agency. As this isn’t going to be built before November we can only hope the new council, Auckland transport sees sense here and puts it in the right location.

  6. Ian M says:

    Looking at a map of the place, I’m pretty sure the most direct (and flattest) route to the museum is from Maunsell road/Parnell Rise, which happens to be already served by the Link bus. I would be surprised if many would actually prefer to take the train there.

  7. Jon C says:

    @Scott they are talking of an underpass

  8. Matt L says:

    Ian - At the moment it is a fairly similar distance to the museum from Newmarket, Grafton or the proposed Parnell station (although Parnell will be steeper and through bush). With integrated ticketing it will be easy to change from a train and jump on a bus to get you there if you don’t want to walk.

  9. Matt L says:

    Jon - what do you mean an underpass, to get to the museum you would need quite a big tunnel, not cheap that’s for sure.

  10. Scott says:

    Have you got any more details on this underpass? Is it a little one to get under the tracks? Or a large one like they have in Whaunganui where a level tunnel is connected to an elevator within Durie Hill? The former seems to offer very little advantages compared to a bridge or level crossing. The latter could offer a huge advantage, but 500m tunnels with elevators don’t come cheep.

  11. Ian M says:

    If they are planning an underpass it makes the comment about how expensive an overpass for the university seem debatable.

  12. ingolfson says:

    I would expect with “underpass”, they mean just a little one, upgrading the culvert-tye one (which actually isn’t bad, but doesn’t serve tall people or cyclists well…)

    A long tunnel would feel like a mine shaft! And would cost oodles and kinda miss the point of being in the Auckland Domain. So they won’t be thinking of that.

  13. DanC says:

    I’d like to see an escalator going up to Parnell (Cheshire Street) then a bridge across to the Domain which can be used for cycling and walking. This would bridge would be such a good asset to Parnell and the Domain even without the rail connection.

  14. max says:

    While both are interesting ideas, Dan, they would be hugely costly, and not attract enough use in my opinion to meet the funding criteria.

    And outdoor escalators are horribly difficult to keep working.


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