Auckland’s Strand Station: What To Do?


So what should be done with the sorry state of Auckland’s original central railway platforms at the Strand?

Already ARTA has been talking about stabling trains there.
Now it’s talking of having it as a standby in case needed during the RWC.

This despite officials insisting at every opportunity that they’re confident the public transport system, especially the trains to Kingsland and Morningside stops, will handle the thousands attending the RWC 2011 matches at Eden Park.

But we all know as commuters what really can happen if the signals fail, or Britomart, with its CBD tunnel at least seven years away, can’t cope with the number of trains or there is, heaven forbid, a bomb hoax or worse happens at Britomart or on the rail network prior to a game.

As you pass west-bound alongside what served Auckland as its railway station for 70 years, you will notice how the platforms are now used for leased short-term parking, some rail connections are gone but the main platform remains and the station itself still looks a grand old building, despite its recent history of needed extensive leaky building repairs after being converted into student flats.

Auckland's tired neglected Strand railway platform

The railway station was moved from its original downtown location in 1930 to the Strand in Parnell.

Built by the Public Works Department in 1928-1930, the ornate Beaux Arts-style building was intended to stand as a gateway to the city, and its construction involved the largest independent contract issued in New Zealand at £320,000.

In its heyday, politicians and other important people would arrive at the three-storey building by driving up a sweeping ramp on either side of the building, enclosing a landscaped garden immediately to the front.

Auckland's Strand railway building was once considered very grand

The platforms – used only very rarely in recent years for an enthusiasts’ trip, often on steam locomotives - have seen better days.
In 1999, the Auckland Railway Station was converted into apartments for students but in 2008, Auckland University terminated a contract to lease the block after problems with leaking. Extensive repairs were needed.

There was a flurry of enthsuiasm towards the end of last year for a new Parnell stop at Cheshire Street as a destination in its own right, centred around re-development of the carriage works building and highlighting the rich heritage of the Waipapa Stream valley. The plan also incorporates the old Newmarket Station building and signal house, which is in storage. ARTA originally planned for a station at Carlaw Park.

Let’s hope a wider picture is taken this time around, beyond just doing a tidy up at the Strand and marking it as a backup for the RWC.

This is a chance to think about whether we need to resurrect a Parnell stop - or how best we can use land that still has rail connections alongside the main platform.

SEE ALSO: Plans for new Parnell stop

and more on the Parnell stop plans




  1. John Dalley says:

    A Vector station like what others have suggested may be better?

  2. Matt L says:

    I think the best place for a Parnell station is neither of the locations suggested but at the end of Heather St. The track through here is flatter than at the mainline steam site and is closer to Parnell than The Strand. Whats more the walk up to Parnell Rd is also easier than both the other two sites and is more open.

    It would also open up the buildings on Heather St to more commercial development like what exists on Parnell Rd, something not possible with the other sites and a pedestrian bridge could be built across from the station to Alten Rd to provide access to the University.

    The site currently has a carpark and a satellite dish on it (is it even used anymore)

  3. Chris says:

    Heh, so I guess in my heyday I was a VIP being dropped off to catch the bus back down country home by my grandmother… I have fond memories of being dropped off my her.

  4. Kurt says:

    Why not use this area as a stabling area for passenger trains when not in use. Its all there and a lot closer to Britomart or Waitakere than Westfield.

  5. Jon C says:

    @Kurt That is what is being looked at. ARTA says discussions have been held between ARTA, KiwiRail and ONTRACK and it is now believed that a concept plan that meets all parties needs has been achieved. The next steps are to get formal agreement and progress detail design.
    Railside Avenue is also being looked at for stabling for Western Line trains rather than have to use Westfield and that could happen from mid-next month.

  6. Matt L says:

    The Railside Ave stabling is already under construction :-)

  7. Jon C says:

    @Matt L Yep a month away.

  8. Jeremy Harris says:

    The track area should become the major depot on the network, enclosed for secure storage with a cleaning facility and the building should become a railway museum…

  9. carl says:

    Auckland station has well and truely had it’s day. Pull it down, & convert the area to high rise apartments, or as one reader says, use for stabling. Keeping old redundant buildings out of nostalgia is pointless. This obsession goes on in Melbourne with building around facades of unsightly & inappropriate relics, just because some group of conservationists make a big enough noise.
    We live in the modern times. Time to move on Auckland. Get over it & don’t live in the past.

  10. rtc says:

    Auckland station is a category 1 protected building and can never be demolished. That aside, it has already been converted into apartments, and these are privately owned and so too is the land. The area out back where the platforms are of course should in my mine be cleared out, along with all the commuter parking and the area set up as a train storage area and as suggested perhaps build a station for use if Britomart ever needs to be closed at short notice.

    At Jon - have you seen the plans for what ARTA et al plan for the stabling?

  11. Mike says:

    The category I historic places registration covers both the 1930 station building and the platform verandahs. That in itself is no protection: that protection is given by the site’s heritage listing in Auckland City’s District Plan. And it doesn’t mean that it can’t be demolished (just look at the bits of verandah that have gone), but resource consent for demolition would be very difficult to achieve.

    And they’re not Auckland’s original central station platforms - they are the remains of the third Auckland station. The first station opened in 1873 at Point Britomart, the second in 1885 in Queen St.

    And the top photo doesn’t show The Strand platform - the photographer is standing on it.

  12. rtc says:

    Thanks for clearing that up Mike.

  13. rtc says:

    There doesn’t appear to be much left of the Auckland station platforms, how about they shift them out to MOTAT and use the space left (along with the space once the cars are kicked out) for the stabling.

  14. Jon C says:

    @rtc No I havent.

  15. Joshua says:

    Use it for temporary hamilton services and other long distance services, linked to a light rail shuttle service to the main station, that way we can keep britomart for local services while catering for the long distance. lol.

  16. Chris R says:

    An earlier plan was to use the station as a servicing depot for the EMUs. That will go out the window if the station is brought back into (standby) use.

  17. Kurt says:

    While on the subject of the old station what is happening with the yard currently occupied by Mainline Steam just up the tracks at Parnell. Again it would be a good area to store trains or service/clean them and would be a waste to let that developed area go.

  18. Su Yin Khoo says:

    Have a look at what these people did with an underutilised train station! Very inspiring


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