Four years ago the wonderfully upgraded Newmarket train station was reopened after being transformed from a run down and sorry excuse for a station to gleaming masterpiece that’s worthy of being our second busiest train station. Before and after photos below thanks to Craig:
However there has always been one big disappointment and that is the ongoing saga that is Station Square – the barren and soulless attachment to the station. To be fair at least there has been some minor improvement with the square. The Waitemata Local Board invested just over $50,000 to improve it by adding some trees and tidying up the very worst bits of the station access out to Broadway. All up 9 planters with attached seating have been added to the square with Magnolias and Nikaus planted in them. When I was there were at least some people hanging around and relaxing in the square which is positive and something wouldn’t have happened in the past.
While planters have helped the centre of the square a little bit, it’s a lot harder to do anything about buildings that surround the place. In particular the low roof heights that help to give almost a claustrophobic felling. At least most of the shops seemed to have been let out – although many weren’t open despite it being mid-afternoon when I was there.
As well as the trees the other small positive improvement is that the ugly back of the building out to Broadway has been covered up. You can see what it used to look like in this post from a few years ago.
That trellis is only really a short term solution though and the exit from the square out to Broadway is still far too narrow (and ugly). The lane isn’t exactly inviting from the other side either.
A few years ago the council were meant to have been in negotiation with the owners to buy the building on the left in the image above (right on the image before that) with the goal of demolishing it to make a proper entrance from Broadway. When I asked the council a few months ago about what was happening they refused to tell me anything, they wouldn’t even say when they might be able to say something. The thing that annoys me is that this isn’t a new issue, the problem has been known about for 4 years and yet still nothing seems to be being done about it.
Further while this sits in limbo nothing has been done about making the station more visible from those walking along Broadway. The only thing that points to the station is the sign in the photo below which is difficult to read unless you’re standing directly under it. Even the car park has bigger and easier to read lettering than the train station (Newmarket station is on the top blue strip on the sign to the right of the Politix store).
The council need to get moving and sort this station out. It is the second busiest station on the network and Broadway is the main street of Newmarket yet for someone walking along Broadway it is almost impossible to find – and if they did find it you might think twice about walking down that alleyway. Rail passengers and Newmarket deserves better.