After writing a fair few blog posts on Newmarket station over the past week (and not all of them particularly complementary) I thought I should go check it out for myself. Arriving from Broadway, I do think something needs to be done to improve the connectivity of “station square” with the main street. Even a few signs saying “Newmarket Station this way” would be useful! Although quiet, station square is certainly quite a nice public space (although a bit of greenery wouldn’t go amiss).As I have said previously, one the best parts of the station is the “map wall”, which shows a historic map of the area. Apparently at night time the map wall is lit up and looks spectacular. As a bit of a fan of old maps, I find it fantastic. Maybe I just got lucky with my timing, but there was a train due (heading to Britomart) within just a few minutes of us arriving. It was also arriving from the west, which would give me a good opportunity to assess the time it takes for drivers to change ends. Our train was due at 11.49 and arrived bang on time, to the minute

Now I assume the driver changed ends, but actually I didn’t notice. The train didn’t seem to wait too long at the station before we were off on our way. So either there was a second driver or the driver managed to change ends really quick. Either way, on this particular situation the ‘end-change’ didn’t seem to be an issue. There were also no issues about having to wait for other trains to clear the junction – and we were at Britomart within 7 minutes of leaving Newmarket.

Britomart station was pretty busy for a Saturday. The SA Train (four carriages) that we were on heading into town wasn’t jam packed, but it was certainly fairly full.

I did a bit of shopping in town, and had some lunch there, before catching the train back to Newmarket. Once again we got lucky with the train timing and only had to wait about four minutes before our train left – once again a Western Line train. This trip didn’t seem to work quite so well – as we had to wait for quite a few minutes just before we reached Newmarket before the signals changed in our favour. I strongly suspect that our delay here may have been avoided if Newmarket’s “missing link” had been constructed, as our train wouldn’t have conflicted with anything coming towards Britomart, could have used platform four and then hooked through to the west from there.

Getting off the train, I noticed the gap between the train (an ADL on this occasion for all the train nerds out there) and the platforms seemed particularly large. I tried to take a photo that would illustrate this gap: The train also seemed to take longer to get going. We were well up the escalators and the train was still there, and I don’t think I heard it pulling away until we were almost out of the station altogether. One last thing I think worth mentioning is the lack of a pedestrian crossing over Remuera Road immediately outside the train station. This seems a pretty unacceptable omission – and it was amusing at the station opening to watch Steven Joyce and the rest of the transport dignitaries having to take a three-legged journey around the intersection. Hopefully Council will fix this problem very soon.

Overall, I think I was pretty impressed with things. I still think the missing link between platform 4 and the west is necessary to increase the capacity of the Newmarket junction. It also seems as though the wait time at Newmarket station is a bit all over the place. Hopefully the end-change issue can be sorted out soon, and hopefully KiwiRail get around to building that missing rail link. That way we’ll be able to get the most out of Newmarket station.

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  1. Jasmax produced the “design concept” for Newmarket. They are responsible for pretty much all new stations around the place, having provided three basic designs that can be applied to different specific stations. They also lead the design on Britomart. I guess other firms were involved in some details.

  2. Why is the gap so large? Are these just old trains (well I know they are) or is the platform low. In Switzerland most platforms have been elevated over the years such that they are now flush with most trains. However, a few older trains seem to be a similar height as the ADL above the new platforms, but these are all intercity carriages. These old trains are almost unreachably high over the old platforms, which begs the question why aren’t the old platforms at the height of the old carriages….But seeing as these are all new builds in Auckland what’s the deal?

  3. Also, my understanding and I have read it in ACC council minutes that they were demolishing the two buildings to the left of the Station Square entrance on Broadway – why hasn’t this happened. They own the buidings, the square is finished, the train station is open and yet the buildings remain. Are they tenanted still or empty? Bit of a mystery I have to say.

  4. The new trains can be built to the correct height.

    The missing links to alleviate pressure on this station? The main one is the CBD Loop!

  5. Yes well of course the CBD Loop is the main missing link! Lol.

    I would imagine the electric trains will be a bit lower, it is quite a step currently.

  6. Possible future congestion at Newmarket I can see being a future lever for the CBD Loop, it could be said in the future that Newmarket Station was only built the way it has been, because the CBD Loop was to be built!

  7. I took a train from Newmarket the other day. It was a different kind of train, but I don’t know much about trains so I can’t say what type it was. Anyway, the gap between train and platform was much smaller – about 10-15cm, I’d say. The gap in the photo looks like 35cm at least!

  8. sj, I imagine it was probably an SA Train (locomotive hauled carriages rather than each carriage driving itself). They seem to be a bit lower.

  9. Isn’t Britomart built higher than these platforms? Such that even the new trains will never be flush with anything but Britomart? Kiwirail built these platforms low to acccomodate some sort of freight carrriage I understand.

  10. I caught the train from Newmarket to Britomart on Sunday, although the frequencies do suck on a Sunday. But getting on and off the train at both britomart and Newmarket I found the step to be the same. Im pretty sure they are built to the same height. But please correct me if i’m wrong.

  11. The Wikipedia article about the Newmarket Train Station gives answers (and Newspaper links) to the height questions. According to authorities, Britomart is the ONLY station in Auckland that has higher platforms, due to the requirements of freight trains not applying there.

    Well, hopefully the newer trains will cope better with that height difference.

  12. Ok, so does that mean when we get new trains we will have to step up to the bitomart platforms, or will we still have to step down to the rest? Or will we get knelling carrages? So many questions.

  13. On a positive note Auckland trains is reporting that the Newmarket Business Association is having a promotion in Feb where you get discounts at certain places for showing your train ticket. I just hope that other places do this as well, It would be quite easy for Sylvia Park, Lynnmall and Westcity to also do it as train stations at right outside their doorstep. This could also be used with integrated ticketing to actually prove you used PT to get to the store as at the moment I could drive and then show my 10 trip card I use to get to work to get the discounts. This would defeat one the purposes of the promotion as it doesn’t get a car off the road.

  14. Interesting that you note the trip took 7mins between Newmarket and Britomart. This trip is scheduled to take 9-10mins (last time I checked anyway) so obviously there’s some slack time in there to allow for the changing ends.

  15. I wonder how much of a height difference there is.
    What’s the plan with the ex-Perth units when they’re replaced in 2-3 years – will they be sent down to ChCh for the start of their urban rail system 😉

  16. The 1960s ADKs will probably be scrapped – and about time too for them! The 1980s ADLs may go to Dunedin. ChCh has the problem of there being no central city train station.

  17. I would like to see the ADL’s sent out around the country to start a few trial PT services in places such as Christchurch, Hamilton and Dunedin. Dunedin may actually be a good bet because of the linear nature of the Mosgiel – Dunedin corridor, and the high employment density in the city, university area, which is all within about 10mins walk of the station. Dunedin also has the advantage of having a much stronger grassroots movement for rail than other cities. I know the Taieri gorge in the last year has run a couple of one off commuter timed services from mosgiel.
    Also the local MP Clare Curran is a bit of a railfan and is very keen on such a service.

  18. It was a bit tongue in cheek the ADKs are certainly due to be scrapped based on the few times I’ve used them. Which ones are the ADLs?

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