Parnell rail station opens

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By Bernard Orsman

Auckland has a new rail station at Parnell featuring Newmarket Station's old 1908 building designed by renowned railway architect Sir George Troup.

The station opened to trains Sunday to coincide with a new train timetable which will see improvements to travel times for the southern, western and Onehunga lines.

For local body politician Mike Lee, the station fulfils a commitment made by the Auckland Regional Council 10 years ago to build a station at the back end of Parnell in a weed-infested gully between Cheshire St and the Domain with access to Auckland Museum, Auckland University and the ASB Tennis Centre.

This station is an important and crucial link in the re-invigoration of Parnell
Cheryl Adamson, Parnell Business Association

"It's deeply satisfying because good things in politics take a long time. I feel greatly satisfied after years of anxiety and disappointment that here, at last, is the Parnell station with the George Troup-designed heritage building on site," Lee said.

It was the first new train station on the old rail network in 100 years.

The old Newmarket station is being restored by KiwiRail with a new veranda and exterior repaint in the original colours of Canterbury clay, deep chocolate and railway red. The interior is still in dilapidated condition and the 45-metre-long building, in storage for eight years, will receive a new tile roof.

The Parnell station is costing $18.9 million. It has two platforms, bus-type shelters, ticket machines, Hop card readers and an underpass to link the platforms.

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An Auckland Transport spokesman said when stage one, costing $12m, was completed later this year, the station would be equipped with electronic gates, CCTV, a PA system, help points, mobility parking and improved access to Cheshire St and Nicholls Lane in Parnell.

Mike Lee at Parnell Train Station. Photo / Michael Craig
Mike Lee at Parnell Train Station. Photo / Michael Craig

Lee said the station would reshape Parnell, a view shared by the Parnell Business Association, which is picking high demand from workers and students as well as long-term benefits to the heritage suburb from visitors and tourists.

"This station is an important and crucial link in the re-invigoration of Parnell," said association general manager Cheryl Adamson.

Once the station is fully operational, Auckland Transport forecasts more than 2000 passengers will use it during the morning peak, most of them university students.

Lee, who was responsible as chairman of the former regional council for electrification, double-tracking and new electric trains for the city's rail network and started work on the city rail link, said the Parnell station had been on his list of things to do and waiting to be ticked off.

"It is a big day and we had a dawn blessing on Friday with Ngati Whatua and Hauraki people and there was a lovely feeling about it all," he said.

Last month, Auckland Transport closed Westfield train station on the grounds fewer than 330 people a day use it and it requires costly work to bring it up to standard.

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