Parnell Station Gets Go Ahead


Mike Lee’s dream of a heritage Parnell train station will be realised soon.

Auckland Transport’s CEO David Warburton has confirmed the go-ahead for the planned new station. Construction will begin during the Christmas rail closedown and it should be operating by August next year.

Elated Councillor Lee, chair of the Auckland Council Transport Committee and Auckland Transport board member, who began pushing for it when the ARC Chair, told AKT: “Its personally very encouraging that this ARC legacy project has been taken up so enthusiastically by Auckland Transport.
It’s good news for historic Parnell and for the onward advancement of Auckland rail in general.”

The niche station, at the foot of the Domain near the steam train depot  aims to to service the major tourist destination of the Auckland War Memorial Museum and highlight and promote the historic Parnell village and the area around it.

The full station and necessary track work will cost $14m.

Key elements of the design include side platforms with the usual train furniture on the western platform but to add to the heritage aspect will be the use of the old original Newmarket heritage station, which was removed a few years back to make way for the new Newmarket station.

The old Newmarket station building will be relocated to the site to add to its heritage theme at a  cost of $1.10m.

It would be refurbished and relocated on the eastern platform. The old Newmarket Station building and signal house which has been locked away for years need to be brought back to remind us of Auckland’s rail history. Mainline Steam has offered to use the old station building as offices or use it as some other feature.

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 Mainline Steam Depot is also required.

Site of Auckland's new Parnell station

Parnell lost its station when the Strand on Beach Rd was superceded by the Britomart transport centre. And Mainline Steam was threatened with having to move out West from its Parnell base - especially when NZ Bus eyed up the KiwiRail land for a bus depot when its Wynyard Quarter-based downtown depot has to find a new place..

Newmarket's old signal box has been in storage

The ARC pushed for a heritage station.  Parnell Inc, the Parnell business group came up with its idea so found a champion in ARC Chair Mike Lee. Parnell is New Zealand’s oldest suburb and the Domain, the country’s oldest park.

This was an early ARTA concept design for it.





  1. Patrick R says:

    Know who the architects are?

  2. Luke says:

    would love to see the detailed designs. Sound like a very nice idea, but there is going to have to be some big engineering works required to get a decent station here. Especially regarding access/stairs to get to the platforms. Don’t want a repeat of Glen Eden!

  3. Commuter says:

    Are you sure NZ Bus owns the Parnell site? I understood it was owned by the NZ Rail Corporation (ie KiwiRail) who were contemplating leasing it to Infratil (ie NZ Bus), hence the outcry that yet another publicly owned piece of land was being flogged off to private interests (20% return on capital pa).

  4. Pim says:

    Do you mean 1977?

  5. AKT says:

    @Commuter Sorry garbled sentence. Thanks! @Patrick R Not yet. @Pm Hmmm.. not sure what I meant.

  6. Carl says:

    a million to shift it? what are they air lifting via wellington or something?

    sorry but that is a lot of money to move something pretty much “up the road”.

    again, is it really worth spending all this money to move something, that might only last another 10-15 years with more foot traffic use and vibration stress?

    why would you want to work in a dodgy old wooden building setup, when really its suppose to be a train station?

    sorry but really don’t see what all the fuss is about.

  7. nzbcfanboi says:

    2077? is this proof your The Doctor

  8. AKT says:

    @nzbcfanboi Who?

  9. nzbcfanboi says:

    @AkT I see what did there you are known just as The Doctor the one the only and the best :)

  10. JB says:

    I think it’s great! A victory for Lee, Parnell and Auckland. Thanks for the news Jon!

  11. Jon C says:

    @nzbcfanboi Off topic if you are a Dr Who fan the new series is awesome

  12. Doloras says:

    @JonC No it’s not. Stephen Moffat is a hack and Matt Smith resembles Jar Jar Binks. BRING BACK ECCLESTON

  13. Anthony says:

    What is this “Dr Who?” do you speak of?

  14. signalhead says:

    Is it only me who thinks that it might be a good thing to relocate Mainline Steam out west?
    I mean the buildings are an eyesore and cheap accommodation at best. At night the place is dangerous and the prime real estate could be put to so much better use.
    Nice new facilities out west, urban renewal in Parnell, win, win?

  15. Rui says:

    It is going to add at least a couple of minutes jouney time to all southern and western journeys. More on the Bmt - Nmkt direction because it is uphill and will take effort to start again on an uphill especially with the old diesel trains. People already complain that the journey times are too long!
    How many passengers do they really think will use this?

  16. DanC says:

    A bit off topic here but including the new Parnell station…In many many many years to come, I new rail route (after the CBD link and everything else) from the Eastern line, tunnelling under the Parnell rose gardens, with a sub terrain station underneath the future Parnell Station (with lift access to the main street), from there tunnelling under the Domain curving around to the learning quarter for a sub terrain station, then joining the future built north shore line. City linked!

  17. Matt L says:

    I think it will be a shame if they go with the location that Mike Lee wants as the ARC’s own investigation showed that a more northerly site would have a much better catchment. I know only a few hundred metres doesn’t sound like much difference but a prime example is Grafton, moving it just a few hundred metres down the track increased patronage of the station by 40% and it is now extremely busy at peak.

  18. Brent C says:

    No mention of NZTA or government contribution to this project. Is this the case?

    I can imagine SJ will still want to open the station however….

  19. Geoff says:

    @Carl, Perhaps $1m does sound like a lot to relocate the old Newmarket Station, but it pales in comparison to spending $14m to make the tracks steeper either side of the station. I’m generally in favour of the project, but it seems to me blowing $14m on existing tracks that are otherwise not problematic could perhaps be better spent elsewhere. For example it would get us about three kilometres of third mainline north of Puhinui.

  20. Pim says:

    I think that this a great idea, and a necessity, but I don’t think it’s urgent. I think that as Geoff said, we could have that third rail first, so that it may be a possibility in future to have express services, and make it easier to have intercity rail services. If the money is available, we need to assess all our options.

  21. shaun says:

    I thought electric trains could quite comfortably handle stop/starts on the grades there, so didn’t think earth works would be necessary. I can’t see this adding too much time to overall journey times, especially once the electrics come along. Despite what some people say, I can actually see this station being quite popular with regular commuters also (maybe even in the top 10 stations on the network), because there are virtually no bus services in the area from south/west Auckland and a lot of people work (and play) in Parnell and the surrounding area. If every service stops at this station, it will be a very busy station indeed.

  22. Matt L says:

    I agree that it isn’t the most pressing need for funding but I think on of the reasons for doing it now is that it would be much more expensive to do it after electrification as you would have to redo all of the masts etc.

  23. Patrick R says:

    Important for growing the network, but please build good pedestrian links towards the university, a little bit of directness makes all the difference when walking. Ideally a modern all weather suspended, transparent even, pedestrian bridge over NZTAs mess of Grafton gully would be perfect.

    Important, as Matt says, to coordinate this development with electrification.

  24. Jon C says:

    @Patrick R Agreed about the walkway. A main reason the station has to be done now is that it has to be done in association with the pre-electrification works taking place in the area. It is a small window as it would be messy after those works are done.

  25. Simon says:

    Yeah, it`s gonna be as important to get the links right to Parnell, University and the Domain as the station itself. A really good opportunity though to relink Parnell and the Domain.

  26. Carl says:

    Jon C - then my point becomes even more concerning, why are they shifting “old” gear from one site to another?

    why start fresh and send something like this old building to Motat, where it probably belons?

    come on guys, we want a new fantastic system, not old and recycled stuff that is going to be trucked around in pieces, because I bet after all the vibration and use, in about 10 years time, more money will be spent on “doing” it up, when I bet, building new would have been cheaper.

    sorry just my two cents, using old stuff again is cool, but not when it involves massive moves like this.

    something will go wrong somewhere.

  27. Jon C says:

    @Carl I guess it depends on what your view is about rail heritage. The site has old steam trains because it has the Mainline Steam depot there and so it makes sense to me to get the old signal box out of storage and add it to the stop which is designed for tourists. Personally I love the old box at Remuera but understand some people are happy with your average modern station furniture.

  28. Carl says:

    Jon C - All the same on your views, its just the cost of the move that i was like ” they serious”?

    and of course my worry then extends to what happens its if damaged during the move or something…

    likewise the amount of people that are going to use it, walk on it, touch it, interact with.

    could it all fall apart in 5-10 years, is it going to be a major do up.

    New Doesn’t have to be modern, it can be styled to look old in a certain way.

  29. George D says:

    Go Mike! Auckland’s first museum-station is about to be constructed. I’m excited!

  30. Matt L says:

    George D - there is one just pretty much as close and without the steep climb, its called Grafton.

  31. George D says:

    Matt, slight double entendre there - the station is itself a museum, rather than a functioning piece of infrastructure.

  32. Hamish Keith says:

    Here is a chance to link this station directly to the Museum with an underground walkway. Like the one at South Kensington which links the tube to the V&A, Natural History etc.

  33. George D says:

    Hamish, how exactly would that happen? And what would be the cost?

    (Not incidentally, Hamish Keith is one of the priests of preservation in New Zealand. His ideas are listened to. People like him are the reason decrepit buildings with little cultural significance are sacralised as ‘heritage’ - at the cost of a living, developing city.)

  34. Evan says:

    Very useful station this will be for the University as well - quite attractive for commuters from Papakura for example. Also useful for lots of people who work almost anywhere in Parnell. The gap between Newmarket and Britomart is simply too wide.

  35. John says:

    A concept whose time has finally come. I live on the Shore and work in Parnell. Currently I inch my car over the bridge twice a day. Next year I’ll catch a ferry, hop on a train and be at work - as will hundreds of others. Only question that remains is - Why does the bleeding obvious take so long to action?


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