In the previous post, I wrote about how we could improve the Wellington rail network including how we could possibly make the Melling line fit better for Wellington from a network operations perspective
In this last post for this series, I propose an alternative solution which is making the Melling line more useful.
Instead of as current the Melling line running all the way to Melling station which has very low walk-up catchment and is basically all PnR take the line to Lower Hutt Town Centre. This can be done by crossing Pharazyn St then through some light industrial and across the Hutt River to a new station on one of the many Lower Hutt carparks.
This realignment would bring the rail network right into the heart of Lower Hutt with much of Lower Hutt Town Centre becoming within an easy walking catchment of the new station.
Feeder buses could easily interchange with this new station or the current Western Hutt station. The few houses that are within walking catchment of the current Melling station access could be mitigated with a new pedestrian/cycle bridge connecting the path behind their houses to the new station.
The station could even have some apartments or another building over the top like our Manukau station creating a spatially efficient transit orientated development that could integrate housing and transport as well as improve place.
So at the moment, Wellington has this branch line that is a bit odd, however, with the right investment this line could be turned into something great bringing rail right into the heart of Lower Hutt Town Centre.