I popped over to Newmarket to see the official opening of Newmarket station today, and also to take a few photos of the place. It ended up being quite an interesting opening, as I had the opportunity to speak to quite a few people – a fair few councillors, KiwiRail Chairman Jim Bolger and even Steven Joyce himself (briefly).
I also had the opportunity to talk to the Manager of Veolia Transport in Auckland about how the operational side is going to work – and in particular whether passengers would need to wait impatiently while the train driver changes ends of the train, as unfortunately all Western Line trains will have to still change directions at Newmarket. Fortunately she explained that trains between Britomart and Newmarket will have a “pilot” (I assume that means a second driver or someone on a radio telling the driver what to do), so there will be no need for the lengthy delays that users of the Western Line travelling through Newmarket used to have to endure. Which is very good news indeed!
I also took quite a few photos of the new station. The quality isn’t fantastic, but hopefully it gives a fairly good idea of the station. I was pretty impressed.
The next photo is relatively similar, and shows the platforms. Apparently while there are four platforms, only three will be regularly used. I think either platform 2 or platform 3 will be used only very occasionally. Platform four (the one with the controversy about the missing link from it to the west) is to be used for southbound Southern Line services.
The photo below is down at platform level. Two interesting features at the “zig-zag” dividers between platforms, that seek to make the most of the very narrow amount of room available for four platforms while still providing a decent amount of seating (and does a good idea I think). It’s also good to note that there will be signs telling people when the trains are arriving – hopefully real-time signs and not just “timetabled” arrival times.
I must say overall I am very impressed with this station. Britomart has proven that the quality of the station you provide does make a difference in terms of whether people choose to catch the train or not. I think that we should see quite a boost in the number of people who live or work in Newmarket using the train in the future. Hopefully trains from the west and south will be timed to allow easy transfers between them, although I’ll believe that when I see it.
Trains are running on Monday.