Auckland Transport have announced that the Parnell Rail Station has moved a step closer after being approved to go into detailed design.

A rail station at Parnell is a step closer with the Board of Auckland Transport approving the commencement of the detailed design phase.

The development of a railway station in Parnell has been proposed for a number of years. It will improve services to Auckland University, the Domain and to Parnell.

Patronage forecasts for 2016 show around 2,000 passengers will get off at Parnell during the morning peak, three-quarters of those are expected to head to the University area. Parnell is predicted to be one of the busiest stations in Auckland.

Auckland Transport chairman Dr Lester Levy says the time is right for the station to go ahead. “The re-alignment of the track and re-signalling in the area is substantially complete, now let’s build a station for all the people who work, live in or visit the Parnell area.”

The Board of Auckland Transport has approved $1.5 million for the detailed design phase, the estimated budget for the completion of the remainder of the project is $15.4 million.

The station is due to be completed in late 2015.

Parnell Station

2000 passengers in the morning peak is quite a substantial amount. As a comparison Britomart currently has about 6,000 passengers arrive in the morning peak. I don’t know what other stations currently have during that time but my guess is it could even be higher than Newmarket is now. The modelling also seems to confirm that there isn’t actually that much demand for a station for trips to Parnell or the Museum yet those were the markets focused on when deciding the station location.

I also notice that it says the station will be completed in late 2015 which seems to be another slippage from a few months ago when it was said it would completed in April 2015.

While it will be good having this station open one thing I also want to see is what Auckland Transport are going to be doing to upgrade the connections to Parnell itself. At the moment the backstreets behind Parnell are absolutely horrible places for pedestrians, narrow streets full of cars and carpark entrances. The two photos below are of Cheshire St looking North and South from the entrance to the Mainline Steam site where the station will be located.

Cheshire St

Cheshire St 2

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    1. It just shouldn’t be the new station, that’s all.

      Wrong location. Further north is the right spot. This is about heritage first, transit later. A mistake.

      1. Yes agree, to me the ideal location was perhaps 100-200m further north with at least one end being where the old Telstra satellite was. That would have allowed for an exit straight out on to Heather St and down to the north to Carlaw Park Ave.Parnell Rise while at the Southern end, it would still be roughly where station is now going to be. Would mean almost no difference at the Mainline Steam site but much greater connectivity on the northern side,

      2. Funny thing is the site further north would have been a great spot for the heritage station, on an elevated promontory with views out over Stanley St, and right next to the historic rail viaduct and bridge with its bluestone piers and lacy ironwork.

        1. Agree, not that I care a dot for the faux relocation of the Newmarket shed here, in fact to me it is a sloppy reinvention of a past that never was there- sentimental and inaccurate and therefore almost as distorting as a Thomas The Tank Engine choo-choo [without the excuse of being just for kids]. Whereas that little plateau is a remnant of the actual cliff above the inlet; it still has Pohutukawa on its cliff edge, and deserves rehabilitation and contemporary adaptation as a real aspect of the geographical story of this much abused site. How to do this?- give it a real purpose.

          Also the fact that Heather and Mutu Sts terminate above the east side of the track and therefore give a perfect crossing over point makes it an ideal place to link the bottom end of Parnell to the station and on the attractors across Grafton Gully. A pedestrian/cycling bridge needs to cross this severance and if from here can also bridge the railway barrier too. The improvement of Heather St and its environs should follow from this if done well.

          Talking of ‘done well’ AT now have to show that their choice of the higher location offering better links to mid and upper Parnell is worth it by carrying the Urban Design quality all the way up to Parnell Rd, as others have stated above.

          I wonder who owns this little cliff top? And I wonder if that was an issue in the decision. There being so little money for stations compared to the wanton sums thrown at that other mode….

        2. That piece of land is privately owned. The station is essentially as far north as it can possibly be without needing to acquire any properties.

  1. Quite agree with the comments regarding access. Passing through Newmarket this morning, via the hideous Railway Square, I was reminded of all the promises ARTA/ACC/AT made in respect of giving the station greater visibility from Broadway that haven’t been kept. I have a horrible feeling that AT is going to repeat this failure at Parnell, putting an upgrade of the surrounding streets/providing the station with a relatively level access point from Parnell Road into the too hard basket. Sometimes you do wonder if AT, as an institution, is all that keen on increasing rail passenger numbers. On the other hand, they do seem awfully keen on increasing the numbers of motor vehicles passing through signalised intersections at the expense of pedestrians.

    1. I don’t expect anything to happen around Parnell, the streets around Britomart are a complete shambles and a disaster, Newmarket’s entrance from Broadway is atrocious and it’s been years now since it happened with absolutely no action at all.

  2. They’ll need to upgrade the Stanley St/Alten Road intersection too. Note no pedestrian crossing on the south side of the intersection. Therefore users will have to cross twice, maybe adding 3 minutes to the journey. I’m not even sure why Alten Road even is an intersection at all, seem far to many intersections along Stanley St, closing Alten Road would be great.

    1. That intersection will have something done as a result of the cycleway crossing it, no idea what they plan but it needs some major work and the removal of the slip lanes there.

    2. There is currently a piece of work being done on the pedestrian infrastructure for the station, including looking at the Stanley/Alten intersection.

  3. please also visit – there is a much greater opportunity for this site with the establishment of a heritage precinct with Mainline Steam being a complimentary part of this. If we don’t fight for this we will end up with a another set of horrible flats as can be evidenced if you follow the tracks up to the old tunnel. And then of course is the opportunity to link Parnell and Newmarket via this old tunnel and a cycle way.

    1. I would much rather the mainline steam site be developed than have a faux heritage precinct. The whole idea of building a station primarily for a heritage precinct has been the worst aspect of this whole process and meant we have ended up with a sub-optimal outcome. Plus I don’t see how this has any impact on whether or not there should be a cycleway through the old Parnell tunnel

      1. The flats are horrible to me mainly because the owners/Council (?) have neglected their rear, and instead used barb wire and weeds to give it a wonderful ambience.

        The station and the design of the paths around it ARE however of key importance to getting the Newmarket-Parnell-CBD Greenway succuessfully through here. Currently, the only way for cyclists to cross the rail line is the little culvert south of the station, which then ends at a very steep pedestrian-only path.

    2. Quelle horreur “another set of horrible flats”… Yes clearly a totally daft idea to allow relatively affordable apartments to be built anywhere near a train station.

  4. Got to love that artists impression with the rather optimistic gentle avenue next to Mainline Steam rather than the near rock climb that exists at the moment (slight exaggeration but not far off) next to some butt ugly 70’s industrial buildings and their car parks.

  5. What used to go on in these old railway station buildings? I grew up in Wellington and the local station at Heretaunga had a big old wooden building with lots of doors and windows that were all closed and boarded up by the 70s. At a later stage this was demolished and replaced with a simple shelter. Presumably there were offices there at some stage, but why?

    1. In the early 1970s I’d catch a train to school (AGS) from Avondale station to Boston Road, then an unplatformed stop, not a station. The Avondale station building was later relocated to Swanson. At the time it was manned by at least three staff, the station master and, I think, a couple of clerks. Aside from the office there was a waiting room that was much appreciated in winter when they lit a fire. Aside from selling tickets and passes to passengers and controlling train arrivals and departures, I understand the staff also oversaw the freight operation which occurred from the shed (replaced in the mid 70s?) across the track and accessible from Rosebank Road. At that time, I seem to recall there was a legal requirement that internal freight of a certain type travelling over a certain distance had to be conveyed by rail, so there was quite a bit of passing through Avondale, servicing the growing industrial precinct on the Rosebank peninsula. I recall it all as being quite busy, although passenger trains were notably infrequent. It was also quite well maintained; I seem to recall there were best looking station competitions amongst the manned stations (Newmarket, Mt Eden, Mt Albert, Avondale, New Lynn, Glen Eden and Henderson), with station gardens being seen as a way to get an edge over the competition. Railway maintenance workers were housed in a camp off Bollard Ave, now part of the Alan Wood Reserve. Totally different world.

    1. Yep, they must know about some tram-train project that we don’t know about yet. I bet this one continues on to Newmarket, and then goes along Remuera Road.

  6. The station that is to be placed at Parnell is the old Newmarket Station. The Mainline Steam depot is a diesel depot built in the 1950’s. The heritage precinct concept is born out of the use of the current sheds, the old Newmarket Station and Signal box. The site development can also capture some of the old history – flax mills, breweries – from the Waipapa Stream and the original rope walk – factory.

    1. None of which requires the working rail station to be placed there, resulting in a sub-optimal result from a transit perspective.

      Another “almost right” decision from AT

      1. Yeah, especially as mainline steam could have still been easily linked into the new station with 200m high-quality walkway and a spur rail track…

  7. Is there opportunity for public input into these decisions for stations, etc? or is it just “you’ll get what we give you”.

  8. Why the hell isn’t it gated in the render? Is this just an oversight, or are they seriously not going to force farebox recovery at one of the busiest stations on the network?

    1. I’m beginning to think that AT don’t believe gates should be part of the solution and that the ticket inspector system will eventually be effective. Not my belief though.

      Is there any scope for some park n ride at this station?

        1. Yes I see there is opposition to park n ride by authorities such as yourself, Patrick. I see a place for some limited facility. It would allow train travel travel for those too far away, or with disability. Increases patronage. Otherwise we’ll continue to see stories in the media such as those in the Rockfield Road area complaining about cars blocking their streets, or the St Mary’s Bay set.

          What are your reasons for disliking park n ride?

        2. Those who are too far away for the train at present could easily drive to Britomart, which has carparking, or even Orakei or Newmarket.

          But perhaps provision for a taxi stand and one or two disabled carparks would be useful.

        3. Jeff, kiss and ride; drop off, especially by a taxi is useful. But one of the looked for side benefits of this project is to reduce the number of carparks down at the end of these narrow streets. Zero associated carparks is the ideal number for a hidden away inner city station like this one. Park and ride is for stations serving dispersed populations much further out that this one.

      1. I see no reason as to why a park and ride would be required at this station. Parnell is largely the destination, as opposed to the starting point. Those living within its catchment radius will either live without a car, or will already have the required parking space for it. And those planning to head from the CBD to the outer suburbs will either choose the train from a nearby station, or choose to drive because the parking on the suburban periphery is much more plentiful.

      1. Yeah, I saw that one today. More cars around Britomart. That one I don’t agree with. We don’t have enough carparks around there already?!

        1. It wouldnt be so bad if AT at least used it as one off street park equals one on street park removed. That would allow a lot more valuable street space to be available for bus lanes, pedestrians and cyclists. High Street would be a prime target as well as all the streets in the Britomart area. There is far too much on street parking in Auckland CBD.

          A general sinking lid on parking would be the ideal.

        2. The massive new car park above Les Mills was apparently based on a consent given many years ago (i.e. mid 2000s). So we can’t really blame the current Council / AT for that. Not that they couldn’t be a lot more enthusiastic about reducing car parking…

  9. My idea of park n ride is just to have maybe 15 to 20 spaces available at the station (which you would pay something to use), Similar to the model I think they use at stations I noticed in the UK.

    1. The argument for the Britomart carpark, I believe, is that because the buildings above Britomart have no dedicated subterranean parks there must be some [more] nearby. The trains/buses/ferries that all converge at this point don’t count it appears.

      Parnell. The question is: is there a better higher value use for the space that your 15/20 carparks would take, including the access turning etc? And I would argue that here that will almost certainly be the case. Either as built amenity; shops, commercial, or habitation, or as open public space. Parnell would arguably be one of the last stations on the network that should have park ‘n’ ride, in my view.

    2. The developers of Britomart built it, they beleived they couldn’t lease the commerical property without parking adjacent.

      As for Parnell, who is going to drive all the way in to the back streets of Parnell to catch a train one station along? The only way it would work would be to subsidise the parking there to be very cheap or free to give it an artificial advantage over the parking buildings around it. Not sure why anyone would want to do that, why not build a building there instead, or at least have a nice urban space if we are going to waste ratepayers money on something with no return.

  10. But note that the newly upgraded 21 Queen St, across from Britomart is fully leased and has zero parking. Two more early 20 century blocks on Customs and Britomart are about to be upgraded and filled, again with zero parking. Auckland is getting better. And we really have to bring the Transit and Active amenity up to standard to support these improvements.

    And that means removing parking not supplying more.

  11. Has this project been canned? The waiting for electric trains reasoning has lapsed, as we are less than 12 months or so from full electric operation, but there is no work scheduled at Parnell yet again this upcoming Christmas break, a full four years after they prepared the tracks for the station site. It looks to me like nothing is going to be started, let alone ready, at the time the network goes fully electric in 2015.

    Me thinks AT have quietly dropped the project.

    1. It has slipped down the list, a big shame but the interchange at Otahuhu is clearly more urgent. However both are much more valuable investments than the 40mil of our dollars they are rushing to blow to make the world a whole lot shitter by destroying 80 year old Pohutukawas opposite MOTAT to supersize that intersection for the neighbouring m’way supersizing…. all because they predict that in 2026 there may be a few minutes delay for some motorists in the afternoon peak.


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