Battle To Save Muri


In Wellington, a small community is battling to save its railway station which is used by only 30 people a day.

Those affected still have a Pukerua Bay station they can use only 800m away.

Muri train station, one of 2 in Pukerua Bay on the Kapiti line is to close.

The Wellington Regional Council and Kiwirail say the platform needs $750,000 in repairs to be safe for the new Matangi trains.

The Pukerua Residents Association is circulating a petition requesting Muri station to remain open and has collected hundreds of signatures.

An independent risk assessment, commissioned by KiwiRail late last year as part of its safety requirements, found some very serious safety issues. The study identified 63 overall hazards and key ones were:

  • Excessive gaps between the platform and trains - the worst gaps on the Wellington network
  • Inadequate platform lighting
  • A wooden extension of the platform that is decaying significantly
  • Structural defects, possibly from subsidence
  • Extremely limited disabled access

On the basis of the report, KiwiRail recommended two main options - either a $600,000 partial redevelopment or a $1.3million redevelopment of the station.

Greens’ Gareth Hughes has taken up the cause and says with rising oil prices, residents who live on the outskirts of Wellington need better public transport options and closing Muri station will force locals to use their cars.

“Many Pukerua Bay residents commute to Wellington on a daily basis, and the elderly and parents with young children also frequent the station.”

The station was built in 1952.





  1. greg says:

    Close it.

    Only 17 to 20 people use it a day, and $750,000 spent on that kind of patronage is too much money, especially when people can use Puk Bay station up the road.

    Closing it would also improve travel time from Kapiti.

    The $750,000 would be better put towards a new station at Raumati.

  2. Iain says:

    GWRC figures state 17 to 20 people using the station. It sounds silimar to when GWRC tried to close a station on the waiarapa line.

    In that case it the station (Matarawa) was saved and also the true nubmer of people using the station was 3x more then what GWRC publicly stated.

    If its in the local community good for the station to remain it should do. My personal feeling is GWRC are looking to close the station to both save money and bring the over trip on the Kapiti line under a hour.

  3. tim says:

    Is it just me or do we need someone a bit smarter to take over public transport planning? Maybe a small Regional Transport Authority that can focus on the job at hand, rather than an oversized regional council with its fingers in too many pies?

    In the case of a small community like Pukerua Bay, quite clearly 2 stations are excessive and unfair. Only vested interests and fools would speculate otherwise. A smart planner would have consulted long beforehand and given the community one of four options:

    1. Close Pukerua Bay Station, Leave Muri Open
    2. Close Muri Station, Leave Pukerua Bay Open
    3. Close Both Stations
    4. Open a new station between the Pukerua Bay and Muri, and close the old ones.

    It really is that simple if one takes a commonsense approach. Instead, we ended up with a long, drawn out political process where everyone tries to get their cake and eat it too, politicians vent, local communities feel marginalised, and an unsuitable and unfair status quo continues.

    Agree with Greg, the best use of such money and extra travel time to complete Raumati as originally promised, until the money was taken away!

  4. Matt L says:

    I read through the report listing the errors and I think it should be closed. Also looking at a map there is only a handful of houses near Muri so I don’t think we should be spending large sums of money on keeping a station open with little patronage and little chance of additional patronage.

    The report also said that the partial upgrade which would cost up to $750k would mean there were tricky operational restrictions, a full upgrade would cost up to $1.3m.

    As a comparison the council could buy a van and hire someone to drive people to and from Pukerua Bay on demand for over a decade for less than the cost of the basic upgrade.

    Tim - I don’t know the area or the geography but looking at a map option 4 would have better option, that would have put the station almost right in the middle of the settlement. Its a shame they give the community the options first.

  5. Brent C says:

    I also believe that this stations days are numbered. Of course the PK residents association doesn’t want the station to close. They have to stick up for local residents. But the amount of money it will cost to keep the station running would be much better served in creating a station at Lindale and Raumati. Stations at these locations would enable GWRC to sell off the Paraparaumu Park and Ride so it can be developed while providing a better service to Kapiti Residents.

    There is no room for further growth in Pukerua Bay and it is unlikely that passenger numbers are going to significantly rise above what they already are.

  6. jarbury says:

    Seems pretty obvious the station should be closed. When PT money is limited, it seems daft to spend around a million dollars on upgrading a station used by so few people.

    If the locals want to keep the station, then they should boost its numbers by using the train more often, or stump up the money themselves.

  7. Matt L says:

    Looks like the decision has been made to close it.

  8. Luke says:

    much better spending 750k improving pedestrian access to Pukerua Bay station. normally I would definitely say close but knowing the area and the nasty terrain, and the busy SH1 running through, am a bit more careful about suggesting that it closes.

    those currently using Muri will have to walk along a narrow foothpath along SH1 for 1km. So should upgrade this first before closure.

  9. Matt says:

    It does make sense to close Muri. I’d agree with Luke that it needs some money spent on new footpaths from the Muri end of Pukerua Bay to the remaining station (along the sides of the railway line where practical, not the SH1) and I’d agree with Brent C that the money would be better spent on new Raumati and Lindale stations, and may I add a new station for Aotea as well.

  10. anthony says:

    I agree with closing Muri, but, like everyone says, improve the path between Muri Station and Pukeura Station, and maybe put a new shelter in.

    Aotea, Raumati and Lindale all needs new stations.

  11. malcolm says:

    Spend some of the money saved by closing the station on a nice footpath from the closed station to the new station. Train times improve, and only 20 or 30 people are put out. Its a no brainer.

  12. Andrew says:

    Wow, despite this post’s headline, I’m not seeing much of a battle here!

  13. bob says:

    Iain and Luke have identified important issues that the ‘close it’ brigade have missed.

    1) The councils and rail planners are always keen to shut minor stations when they can’t keep to timetables. But keep doing that and you get what we have in Auckland - irregular gaps between stations. The small gaps see the bigger station pirate passengers off the smaller platform, while the big gaps turn people off using trains due to long walk. Try catching a train between Panmure and Glen Innes. This is made worse by hilly terrain, as at Muri.

    2) The money wasted upgrading the footpath (where there is limited space, which is why it is the way it is) is similar to fixing the Muri platforms.

    3) These ‘safety’ reports are pathetic - the poor lighting has caused how many accidents in 60 years? The nasty sounding subsidence is a slightly uneven platform surface - the kind we get on inner city footpaths every time the contractors dig them up and patch them. What a self-serving beat up.

    4) It’s not an either/or Muri or Raumati. If you accept that bizarre logic, we would spend nothing on station upgrades, and use the cash to open all new stations, which age, requiring upgrades….. get it yet?

    Andrew is right - this weak display shows how flawed much rail advocacy is today. Thinking caps on folks. Morningside in Auckland had low patronage, and is now a vital second Eden Park station…

  14. tim says:

    While I sympathise with Bob, I can’t agree with his reasoning or logic. If we don’t provide balanced opinions, how can anyone take the forum even half seriously? Consider:

    1. There is an extremely irregular gap between Pukerua Bay, Muri and Paekakariki (Muri is practically a stones throw away from Pukerua Bay) - removing Muri fixes this issue, although the optimal solution would be to build a new station between PB and Muri, and close the old ones.

    2. The cost of a simple gravel footpath (which could be completed as a community project) is considerably less than reforming two separate platforms

    3. Having been to Muri, the platforms are in appalling shape, no room for a half-assed job here, you don’t want to slip and fall onto the tracks here.

    4. There is always a tradeoff with stations - it’s about best locating them within communities to enhance patronage and usability for all local communities across the line. It’s not about keeping unused stations alive for those that don’t use them. The issue here is given limited funds, Raumati would provide more passengers and amenity than keeping Muri, which still has low patraonage due to suboptimal location. use it or lose it folks!

  15. bob says:

    @ Tim - but balance does not mean accepting official reports blindly. Addressing your points:
    1) the gap between Muri and Paekak is the empty coastal bluffs. No need for any station there. Quite different to irregular gaps in residential areas.

    2) A gravel footpath next to SH1 won’t meet safety standards! And the cost of a 1km footpath would be similar to resurfacing two short side platforms.

    3) The photo above does not show an ‘appaling platform state. And here in Auckland we have Manurewa platforms, built a couple of years ago, where 1 platform is over a foot below the trainset doorstep, because the contractors stuffed up. Noone is making efforts to fix it fast for safety. How can it be a safety problem at Muri, but not here?

    4) Yep I agree, but…… the use it or lose it meme is dangerous. It’s how we lost Nelson rail line 50 years ago, and we may lose other lines soon to the same short-term argument. Besides, why do small stations with regular patrons have to lose out? The time loss from one stop at Muri is not great.

    This is just lazy officials closing stations to keep to timetables, instead of thinking about ways to keep train speeds up.

  16. Owen Thompson says:

    Bob re No. 3. I live in Manurewa and had not realised. Is it north or south bound?


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