$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.




  1. karl says:

    First off, thanks Jon C for doing such good reportage - it is a bit of a shame that paid reporters seem to concentrate mainly on sports and celebrities these days (maybe always have) but it’s good that journalists like you (even if you don’t consider yourself one) step in to cover the gaps.

    As for the station - I dislike the location too far too the south, for all the known reasons (much less patronage in the catchment - almost half of it is empty Domain!). Despite that, it’s hard not to get excited about a new station.

    Some queries / concerns:

    There is no pedestrian access path along the northern alignment / to the northeast. That is where most of the residential (in apartment units) is! Surely there MUST be a way to link up to Heather Street, maybe at Bedford Street?

    A new station will mean some delays going to Britomart - will the patronage be high enough to justify it?

    Is there any way to get the overbridge upgraded to also serve cyclists? It looks like a real shame if that wasn’t possible. At least upgrade the route through the culvert to the south of Mainline Steam so that it loops back up north to link to the Carlaw Park path proposed here.

    Good to hear the Nelson Street off-ramp bus depot idea is being investigated seriously. That was one of Mike Lee’s best ideas recently.

  2. Matt L says:

    Karl I agree, If the platforms were just a bit further north the thing would be perfect.

  3. San Luca says:

    Personally I think they should really consider at least a 3rd line in the middle for trains to bypass this stop and I think it should be looked at now and not in 30 eyars time when it will probably be more difficult

  4. San Luca says:

    Also to note from the second map there is no direct access to Parnell Road from this site. The northern site would be more suitable in this case it would seem, as surely you would want people to be able to find the station.

  5. Nick R says:

    About 200m north would be perfect, much better pedestrian links, the link bus within spitting distance plus they wouldn’t have to regrade a kilometre of track.
    I’m concerned about how circuitous the foot connections are and the fact there is almost no way to get to the station by bus or car. Would you have to walk up those steep winding lanes to find a taxi?
    It is just sad they are locating a station based on the possibility they might develop a small museum right next to one of the platforms. They should be locating it to provide direct convenient acesss to as many jobs, shops, residences and development sites as possible.

  6. karl says:

    I don’t think car access will be all that bad, but there needs to be a serious effort to improve the ped access if we are stuck with this sub-optimal location, as it seems to be the case.

  7. karl says:

    Jon C - are those URS plans available online anywhere - they don’t seem to go with the ARC minutes/agenda.

  8. Kurt says:

    There really is nothing there that justifies a station or holding up a train en-route to/from Newmarket. It looks more like an exercise to put the old station building somewhere.

    That and its a decent climb and distance up to the Parnell Shops and there is nothing on the other side apart from the Domain. And its none too safe at night either.

    They would be better off putting the money into building a station to service Mt Smart.

  9. Nick R says:

    Kurt, the Domain is the main reason why it really needs to be 300m further north, more of a Mechanics Bay station than a Parnell one.

    The area is however an excellent place for a station. Apart from Parnell itself it would be less than 500m from the university, right next door to the new Carlaw Park development, and within 500m of over 6000 jobs and 3000 residents, not to mention some big development sites.
    See here:

  10. Patrick R says:

    Yeah I’m for further north, complete with a ped./cycle bridge [clear plastic tube!?] over the truck filled valley across to Alten Rd… waddaya say? While we’re about it how about another one between the Domain and Symonds St as NZTA didn’t think of offering even the most miserable access for humans though their turgid car orgy there. A lovely snaking suspension number repeating the tone of those rather clever screens on Grafton Bridge….

  11. DanC says:

    I think the location is okay, but a path does need to connect with the Bedford / Heather Street corner due to the link bus and the number of residential / commercial space around that location and over the other side of Fraser Park. Also what I would like to see is a bridge built from Cheshire Street to the new Carlaw Park (keeping the elevation), with a link to the station (elevator & steps or ramp?) and then onto Alten Road so you can cycle from Parnell to the city side of the Strand with out having to go down and up and avoiding traffic as Patrick R has said.

  12. Matt L says:

    I would probably wouldn’t move the heritage station much, perhaps only about 20-30m further north but would put the normal parts of the platforms on the northern end of that. That way there is still excellent access to the site and locations further south of the station but makes it much easier to link the station into Heather St and other locations to the north.

  13. Sam says:

    I also agree that the station should be slightly further north. The Carlor Park development should also tie in with the station, rather than the station being ‘out the back’ of the complex- this marginalises the station and therefore train travel, where it has the opportunity to be the centre piece of the development, thereby creating a busy thriving station, whilst entrenching in the businessmens heads that catching the train is the ‘normal’ way to get to work.

    I think one of the problems we have in Auckland is that outside a destination you have car parks, with the train station/ bus stop away from the entrance down a dark alley/in a dark corner. This plays a big role in what people see as the way they are ‘meant’ to travel to the destination. I imagine a lot of people look at a station and think “thats designed for a small minority… it cant be a sensible option for a normal person like me to consider”

    For similar reasons, I think these bigger stations should have a small cafe and/or retail outlet on the concourse- like only Britomart and Swanson have at the moment. They would also add vibrancy, life and a quality feel to our stations- I imagine there are a lot of waiting passengers who would enjoy a coffee, a sandwich or a newspaper while waiting for their train.

  14. Jon C says:

    @Karl Thanks for your kind words. No I dont think so.

  15. karl says:

    “While we’re about it how about another one between the Domain and Symonds St as NZTA didn’t think of offering even the most miserable access for humans though their turgid car orgy there.”

    The access you are talking about has been held up for years due to legal issues, as the bridge between Wellesley Street East and Grafton Road is counted as a motorway, so no ped & cycle access.

    There are (stalled) plans to build a new walk/cycle bridge at this location, probably just off-set from the car bridge. But it won’t span the whole gully, of course. It will still be good to eventually have that, especially once the Northwestern Cycleway is finally looped through the CMJ and up the gully to the university.


Leave a Comment


XHTML: You can use these tags:
<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>