Where For Parnell Stop?


Carlaw Park moved briefly back into the spotlight this morning for a new Parnell station  but later the ARC opted for the Cheshire option.

This after it’s revealed today that KiwiRail is considering leasing the Mainleam Steam area at Cheshire St, the land of which is owns, to NZ Bus as a bus depot.

The site would be leased for up to 60 Link buses during the night and 20 buses during the day.

Permanent use of the building for NZ Bus was a possibility.

Mainline Steam building in Cheshire St to be NZ Bus depot?

The main building would be kept in the interim but all out buildings, including the one storey “lean to” building on the eastern section, would be demolished.

The plan has fired up Parnell Inc, the business group, which has been pressing for a Cheshire St “destination” station “that consolidates transport infrastructure around the heart of a community,” involving the use of the Mainline building, (see plan here ).

The group is strongly opposed to the bus depot plan, saying the small Parnell back streets are not designed for a steady flow of buses and it’s alarmed at the planned demolition of an historic building.

“We are alarmed both by the viewpoint that this building is not worthy of saving and by the lack of imaginative thought for this building in the context of future development on this site, ” says Parnell Inc spokesperson Debbie Harkness in a letter to both KiwiRail and Infratil.
“We maintain our resolve to promote a visionary use of this very key site which has not been appreciated by infratil. While the site is very run down and ‘out of sight’, it is in a very strategic location with the ability of effectively link the Domain with Parnell and create an iconic destination or urban design hub focussing on green and train transport, rather than bus storage or terminals.”

Some of Mainline would be demolished for the bus depot

ARC officials say either Cheshire or Carlaw is feasible. The Cheshire St plan would require considerable development on high value land. A station at Carlaw Park would suit the university, business and Vector Arena.

Parnell Inc envisages Western Line trains stopping here

ARTA has put aside $1.5m to move forward with designs for a Parnell station and detailed design work will start soon for a station at either Cheshire St or Carlaw Park .
This will provide analysis, including costings, to be put forward before a decision on which one is made.
But it seems the decision has definitely been taken for one or the either.
ARTA, the Auckland City Council (which recently proposed a cycleway to the area) and an ARC official met with KiwiRail a few weeks ago about the situation and is hoping it will work with them on the development before it commits otherwise to a bus depot.

This is ARTA’s preliminary analysis of both locations:





  1. rtc says:

    Definitely seems that the Carlaw park site is the way to go and should be a boon for Uni students of the proposed overbridge across the Stanley Street urban expressway is also put in place.

    Using the site for bus storage does seem a bit strange IMO and out of the blue.

  2. Matt L says:

    Carlaw park / Heather St is a better option anyway. As for a bus park it seems like a stupid place for it as the site has a lot of potential for development including restoration and conversion of the buildings on site.

    I personally think these buildings have more value and potential than what the queens wharf sheds have

  3. Simon says:

    Sorry guys, but I`m with Parnell Inc on this one. The university students have other options - it`s not that far from Britomart and there is also the Link bus to their door as well as other buses.

    To me, this station should be about the Parnell community not the university students. The Mainline Steam site is far closer to the Parnell business district and I think it should be there 1) for locals commute 2) for visitors who want to go shopping/eating as Parnell is a going out destination for both Aucklanders and non-Aucklanders alike 3) Make use of the area and buildings as a heritage station and museum 4) Connect Parnell to the Domain area.

    Sorry, but IMO the above are more important than the students!

  4. Ian M says:

    Simon, what a thing to say. How about considering the likely patronage in terms of students who would likely use a station close to university, as well as those working in the Quay area. The link bus goes right through Parnell too doesn’t it?…

  5. Scott says:


    Please read: http://transportblog.co.nz/2010/05/04/where-to-put-parnell-station-weighing-up-the-data/

    You state the Mainland steam site would be “better for locals commute” yet there are over twice as many “locals” (people living within 500m) at the site further downhill.

    Relating to Parnell as a destination: Both sites are suitable for this. This could be argued both ways, distance vs footpath width/security etc…

    None of the buildings are suitable for use as a station and re-development of the area does not require an adjacent train platform. New Market and Grafton station provide better access to domain attractions hence connecting Parnell to the domain only would provide advantages to Parnell residents, and hence is unrelated to the proposed train station. A level crossing or bridge connecting to to domain walking track network could easily be constructed in absence of a station.

    Although some areas of society don’t think students are important there are over 30 000 of us.

  6. Matt L says:

    Simon - Have you looked at the streets you would have to walk up to get to Parnell Rd. Cheshire St is narrow with little in the way of footpaths, it is also quite a steep walk up the hill to main rd. It is hardly going to be able to cope with a large number of passengers all getting off a train at once.

    The Carlaw Park site on the other hand still has good access to Parnell up Heather St which is much wider and not as steep, the downside it is a slightly further walk but this could be offset as it has its own opportunities for redevelopment. Further to this the site is only a slight easy stroll up to the mainline steam site.

  7. Sam says:

    I have to agree with Simon… Parnell is right beside the rail lines, but miles from a station. Britomart is not that much further for university students or Vector arena users than the Carlor Park site, however even if built there, many southern/ eastern line passengers will probably still walk that bit further to Britomart because the train frequencies to south Auckland stations from there is double (due to the eastern line calling at Britomart, but not Parnell), and of course eastern line passengers cant use Parnell anyway. The popular city curcuit bus connects with Britomart, which carries people up the hill to uni, where as people would have to walk up the hill from Parnell.

    Thinking longer term, Aotea station will be just as far for uni students, but will likely have trains running on all lines through it.

    I have also always found the Museum really hard to get to by Public transport- a real hole in the network. At least with a station in Parnell, train users wont need to transfer to the link and STILL walk ages to the museum

    I see the Carlor Park site as quite close to lots of places, but not serving any of them particuarly well. Overall I think trying to compete with Britomart for passengers is a bit futile, because Britomart does work well from the point of view of frequencies, connections, and comfort. Although the Carlor park site may have a bigger catchment, what about comparing the catchments of new customers, who currently have no access to trains?

  8. Matt L says:

    Sam - have you read the link from Scott? it compares the catchments quite well. Also the mainline steam site is just as far from the train line as Grafton but is up a steep, wooded area in the back corner of the Domain which would be completely unsafe to people at night.

    Also if you read the in Jon’s post it shows that the Carlaw Park site has the best rating or is at least good but gets no poor ratings where as Cheshire St has a number of poor marks against it

  9. Joe Hendren says:

    From Parnell Inc News
    “In order to achieve access to the site, KiwiRail is investigating providing an entrance at the northern end of Heather Street, with a two-lane driveway to the site running parallel to the train tracks and below Cheshire Street and Heather Street properties. Up to 60 Link buses would be parked at the site overnight, and an additional 20 buses during the day. ”

    Could a new access road/level crossing for the bus park at heather street also conceivably restrict options for a station at the Carlaw park site?

    Carlaw park is the best site. Parnell Inc should also consider the following - could the proposed pedestrian walkway as part of the Carlaw Park site also provide additional foot traffic from the CBD to Parnell? Those hungry students could head to Parnell for lunch…

  10. Scott says:


    The main advantage of the downhill site is its proximity to high density housing and commercial areas. Long Term this area will see a lot more development than Parnell due to zoning. I feel a foot bridge from the station over the motorway to Allen reserve would make a nice sweetener for Parnell residents.

    The mainline steam location would be a little closer to the museum than the Grafton and New market stations (about 250 - 300 meters) however that area in the back of the domain has winding unlit, unsealed tracks that would make the other stations better options for access.

  11. Simon says:

    @Ian and Scott. Yes I do realise there is a substantial part of the population that are tertiary students. And yes, I was one of those at both Massey (Palmy Nth) and Auckland. Once.

    I also think that university students are also often guilty about thinking about only their own interests. Even in my time it was always it would be good for the students this, good for the students that… Quite frankly the world doesn`t stop and start with university students. So many times on this and other blogs there are always suggestions about it would be good for students. Well, IMO, and obviously you can disagree, in the long-term a mid-town station as part of the CBD tunnel will provide better access and not just for one unis students but for the AUT students as well and obviously while it won`t be built in time for the students of today I am sure there are services etc you guys have that I didn`t in my day.

    Anyway, from Jon`s latest post, the ARC seems to agree with me that Parnell should be a station for that community, and not one primarily for university students.

  12. Simon says:

    My apologies to any tertiary students offended by my prior post. Tertiary students are important. Just that others are too. And I have been on both sides of the fence.

  13. jarbury says:

    I must say I’m extremely surprised to see the Parnell site proposed for the best access to the Museum! Only if you like climbing up steep hills through very isolated forest!

    Grafton Station is surely pretty accessible to the museum now?

  14. ingolfson says:

    “Quite frankly the world doesn`t stop and start with university students.”

    So what? This is a battle between politicians and officials - I don’t see the students involved much.

  15. James B says:

    If you assume an approximately 100 metre long platform, then it will stretch almost the whole distance from Parnell Rise to Heather Street.

  16. Scott says:

    Guess I shouldn’t have mentioned i was a student…

    Basically I believe the station should be placed to maximize network ridership. The population distribution indicates that this will be the downhill location(not taking into account uni students who by the way account for 23% of public transport users (NZHerald)).

    I was very surprised by the ARC’s Stance. Those tracks are nice for jogging on if your fit, its seriously steep.

    Im not from Parnell but from what it appears that both sites would provide access to the main street businesses. I was really surprised how narrow the roads on that side of Parnell were when i visited.

    I hope the Mike Lee goes for a walk from the mainline steam site through the bush to the War Memorial Museum before he makes his decision.

  17. Matt L says:

    James B. Most platforms are now 140m long with some like Newmarket and New Lynn about 200m long

    At Parnell a 200m platform might be close enough to cover both sites fairly well as a bit of a compromise solution

  18. Jon C says:

    They are talking of an underpass for access. Elderly tourists wouldnt make it to the museum otherwise.

  19. 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.

  20. James B says:

    @Matt L Yeah I was using the mark 1 eyeball and comparing it to the Mt Eden station Which looks to only be a little longer than 100 metres. Not sure on the accuracy of the Google Maps scale, probably not that accurate on that fine a scale.

  21. Matt L says:

    James B - they are now lengthening Mt Eden as it is to short.

  22. James B says:

    Oh ok, that’s good news. I wonder when Google Maps will get an update. It still shows the Deloitte’s building and Newmarket Station as under-construction.

  23. Matt L says:

    Who knows, I think the imagery was updated about 6 months ago but it was already about a year old then. Before that it was a few years I think so it will be a while. I want to know when they will add things like SH20 from Hillsborough north to the maps as that has been opened for a while.

  24. Saljen says:

    I prefer the mainline steam site as a pure parnell station. Seems a little strange though that the council is putting it forward as a museum stop, its quite a way. But I like the other ideas of daylighting the waipapa stream, and turning the focus of Parnell toward the domain.

    Lots of work needs to be done for that to happen but I dislike the main road style shopping and dining. Trying to have a conversation with cars driving 10 ft away is not that comfortable.

    Areas like Vulcan lane should the goal and Parnell might acheive that with the myriad of little streets behind the main rd. Mixed in with an interesting train station and opening up paths and briges over the daylighted stream into the domain should be an interesting area if it is done well.

    As for the train access to the bottom of stanley street, Beach rd, and the strand I think the best option would be an eastern line train stop at the old station near the bend in the strand.

  25. max says:

    “Areas like Vulcan lane should the goal and Parnell might acheive that with the myriad of little streets behind the main rd.”

    You are talking of turning a downgrade residential area sitting “below the road” into a shopping and dining neighbourhood. While I won’t say “impossible”, it is an extremely big ask. All those developers and owners would have to turn their buildings into something totally differrent. You can’t easily compare that to Vulcan Lane, because that has been a CBD area for a century or more, and the buildings suit active ground floor uses and have surrounding activity in all direction, not just one part.

    Traffic calming Parnell Road to make it nicer to sit there outdoors is much more realistic.

    “best option would be an eastern line train stop at the old station near the bend in the strand.”

    Well, except for the 2/3rds or more which don’t use the eastern line and thus would have no use of it…


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