Thank you to everyone that entered our competition to win a HOP card with $50 on it. There were some great entries but in this case there can only be two winners. They are :

Therese T

I wrote a poem/verse to explain why the Britomart Station is my favourite station :

Britomart Station
Is definitely the best in the nation
From when the first train arrived on 23 June 2003 at 5.40am on Platform number five
It has literally changed lives!
Can’t believe nearly ten years have past
Since such a station came at last!
She’s got a lot of history and a little bit of mystery

Located right in Auckland’s hub
A nice place for a weekend stroll with the bub
or for single ones to mingle in the clubs :)
Or stop and have a drink at Racket bar, 1885 Britomart or the Brewery Britomart pub

Added to that, the Britomart station is surrounded near umpteen stores
Ranging from Westfield Mall, Ted Baker, Nike or Kiwi labels Zambesi, Kate Sylvester, now off you go!
Browse or shop till you literally drop!

Once you “hop off” the amazing train, there’s also tons of good wining & fine “district ” dining
Metro favourites Ebisu, Cafe Hanoi or go try Northern Steamship, Agents and Merchants, and much much more!
For when you get off at Britomart station, there are opportunities galore!
Indeed a perfect place to take your date
Don’t worry about parking, just “hop on” the train and come have coffee with a mate

And just a few minutes wander from the station, you can enjoy the farmers markets or cool art at Britomart Project Space
Or bring a book to read at the station and get away from the rat race

Alternatively, you can just people watch at Britomart Station while waiting for your train
Here you will not spend your time in vain!
Chomp on some sushi, a sub at the subway, buy mum some flowers or have a cuppa
There is plenty to do before the train takes you home – definitely an upper!

What immense style, what stunning architecture, what a great heritage
Ain’t the station growing more beautiful and statuesque with age
It’s no wonder that every weekday 25,000* rail passengers go through Britomart Station
For me she’s definitely number one in the nation!


Sam F

Morningside. As much because it’s my local as anything else, but being my local means I’m more familiar with its little quirks…

The evidence of past uses, as many stations reveal – sidings that vanish into the carpark of a gym that used to be a warehouse, and other lines that get redder and deeper beneath the ballast as you go out to the edges, only frequented by the occasional broken-down ADL (yup, we hate them now, but for all their faults they’ll be missed by more than a few railwatchers when they finally retire, mark my words…). There’s the blank stub of the old station building, with the old ticket office amputated… I remember kicking casually through the rubble when they finally tore down the boarded up doors and took hammers to the brick, and digging out a handful of yellowed NZR luggage tags from God knows when.

So there’s old stuff that casually tickles your imagination about the past, and also other things that fire your imagination about the future… proper modern shelters, no more burnt out rubbish bins and partly scorched, frequently peed on wooden benches ridged in slapdash coats of paint. Signs of rejuvenation where you mightn’t expect: what was once a spectacular set of leaky apartments faces the station; after being covered in tarpaulins and scaffolding for most of the last decade, which bottomed out at $40,000 freehold fire sale prices, they’re now refurbished and up in more reasonable six-figure territory. I used to look down at the rail beds and see dates from the 1950s and 1960s stamped onto the steel; now you look up and see overhead catenaries – they’re a bit odd in their galvanised newness right now, but they’ll become part of the atmosphere over time.

Then there’s the main attraction for me at Morningside, the riot of graffiti art on the fences facing the lines and on the huge white wall behind the Morningside dairies – not just slapped up bombs but giant multicoloured murals from what are now known artists. Official neglect let graffiti flourish on the rail corridors, and like scrub giving way to a forest canopy, over time it’s grown into something quite spectacular in a few places, and nowhere on the Western Line is it quite as dramatic as at Morningside – at least not anymore, as the best of what was at Mount Eden and Kingsland is long gone now. Probably it’s all coloured for me by nostalgia, looking back to when I caught trains as a kid in the mid 90s, and didn’t know it was supposed to be better than clapped out silver railcars clanking along fifty year old rails stopping at beat-down steel shelters that got set on fire, repainted, set on fire again and so on… really the best of it was the entertaining graffiti, and at Morningside it’s still as spectacular as it used to be, but now adorning a station that’s reaping the benefits of the last decade’s rail renewal.

So here’s to Morningside, but equally to all the other stations, big and small, that have seen so much change. If you’ve got time and a curious mind there’s probably nice little slices of social history embedded even at the quietest little suburban stop – and it’s really now that we’re seeing such a revolution in rail that it’s all coming into relief. At least for a guy who finds anything interesting if he’s had the chance to look at it out the window long enough…

I have sent you both emails and congratulations. Remember HOP cards can be used from Saturday to travel on the trains.

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    1. I don’t think Doloras was being nasty. Good choice Therese. When I visit Auckland and get to the city via Britomart I’m still amazed that the Auckland rail system survived rodgernomics and ruthanasia and went on to become what it is now.

  1. Great stuff Sam F. I love a bit of urban archaeology, and this is a pretty rich tangle of stories by Auckland standards. Even if I still dislike those ex-leaky apartments…

    And it’s funny, I’d have said Morningside was one of my least favourite stations until reading this. Thanks for a bit of revelation to those of us less familiar with the stories, who whizz through too quickly each day! Good stuff.

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