Onehunga Train Station Progress At Last!


Rail IS coming to Onehunga, hopefully replacing the need for some cars

At last, some good news on the Onehunga train station front!

Signs of demolition starting of the former ITM building at 109-111 Onehunga Mall, where the station will be sited.

By dark, at least parts of the roof had been lifted off and some side windows taken out.

There is action also on the proposed plaza and shopping mall, which will be part of the station.

A major issue has been outstanding funding issues.

The  plaza entrance from Onehunga Mall (and pedestrian access from both Princes St and Nielson St) is planned for the station as is a small temporary park and ride but, while these are important components of the overall design, there is no funding for either.

The idea floated last year was for the site to be used in the “medium term” for the mix of ground floor retail and upper level residential with the station on the southern section and a park and ride on the northern section.

ARC officers say they’re now liaising with ARTA to address outstanding platform design issues and specifications for the proposed plaza and park and ride facility.

It’s hoped they will be able to be in a position to present these designs and discuss those funding implications to an ARC committee meeting, possibly next month.

Early designs showed a significant gradient in the southwest corner to the platform and moves began to see whether a gentler gradient can be achieved to ensure ease of access for pedestrians.

The building of Onehunga station hasn’t been a smooth ride.

A report to the ARC last September announced that the ARC had commissioned Boffa Miskell to prepare a draft development framework for the site. It asked for a visible high quality entrance to the station, via a public space/walkway/plaza from Onehunga Mall.

This included the need to create street activity, pedestrian traffic, vibrancy and security near the station.

The proposed configuration on the site arising from the station location created two key building platforms (the largest platform bordering Princes St and Onehunga Mall and a second triangular platform bordering Onehunga Mall and the station platform.
It also resulted in an area to the south east of the site that has very limited development potential due to the lack of access, its landlocked, the level is below Nielson Street and over bridge, and the presence of the power pylon.

It's not an easy site especially with the power pylon

They ended up with three different options:

All the options anticipate retail frontages at the ground level on Onehunga Mall and flexibility for retail on Princes Street, or workshop/offices, and residential development on upper levels. The possibility of office or other commercial development (e.g. entertainment) is also considered.

The options are:

  • Four story developments on the two corners but elsewhere restricted to a three-story walk-up residential typology. The least intensive of the development options, it is within the current District Plan limit.
  • Development up to the level that would be allowed by the volcanic sightline plane protecting the view of One Tree Hill (Maungakiekie) from the SH20 approach to the Mangere Bridge. This translates to five-storey development on most of the frontages, with a 6-storey building on the corner of Neilson St. These would be served by lifts and are likely to be configured by a greater number of smaller-sized apartments.
  • Predominantly four and five-story development, this option also includes an 18-storey residential tower on the corner of Neilson St. Apartments are also wrapped round a third side of the central courtyard with a frontage along the vehicle lane.

The draft development framework identifies the second option , as the preferred option, the essential features of which are:

  • an open plaza descending diagonally to the centre of the rail platform from Onehunga Mall
  • retail tenancies fronting Onehunga Mall, including café/leisure frontages along the sunny side of the entry plaza
  • a metro food store-type activity at platform level, alongside a carpark beneath the northern frontages of the site (and accessed down a lane from Princes St at the north-east corner of the site)
  • 4-6 storey development above the shops, probably built between party walls, and dimensioned to allow flexibility in use as either apartments or offices
  • a variety of day and night activities - shops, offices, apartments, cafes, and possibly cinemas or other night-time leisure facilities to ensure the interest, activity and safety of the station precinct at all times.

The report admits that there are challenges because of a number of factors  - the recession, some specific constraints of the site, and the planning rules and implementation mechanism for the mixed-use zone connecting this new transport hub to the restored foreshore.

But whenever it can all fall into place, the resulting impact for the area will be huge.
In December, a noise issue arose.
The ARC was told that responses from the local Onehunga community were generally supportive, in principle, for the resumption of rail services to Onehunga, but there is “considerable concern about the effects of the rail station and the running of services from neighbours of the site.”

ARTA says it was investigating the issues, such as noise and vibration, and a representative of the ARC’s transport committee met troubled residents of Onehunga’s 65 Princes Street.

Work on the Penrose and Te Papapa platforms for the Onehunga link is continuing.




  1. Brent C says:

    While all these ideas sound fantastic, there is no talk about the possible extension of the rail and where that will run

  2. curtissd says:

    To ride the train to onehunga will be fantastic. My concern is that the station is being built in the wrong place. If a link to the airport is built and the link of Avondale / Southdown. The station will have to be rebuilt? I think it should go across Galway street creating a Galway street North & South. And when the Airport / Avondale lines go in (and I think they will soon as the patronage on rail will snowball) number 65 Princess Street will have to go (or raised, if that can happen????) and a station / retail apartment / bus station complex can be constructed when funds are available. If Galway street was to be used now then the ITM site could be used as a park and ride. It wouldn’t cost as much as constructing what is planned and then take it down again to incorporate the airport line.

  3. onehungalocal says:

    Its so good to see them working there finally! Can’t wait for the opening.

    As someone who lives in Onehunga and will use it as soon as the trains start running. I’ve got no time for new ideas about other locations for the station. The idea for the line has been around and in the planning for nearly 5 years now since it was first promoted in Onehunga. I’m sorry but that is plenty of time for anyone considering where to build a platform. At this point I’m not so worried about any future impact on an airport/avondale line. Given that its taken us in the area this long to see things get close to opening, I have no faith that vague plans about other lines without anything close to committed funding currently will come anywhere near reality in the next 10 years given our experience - I hope I’m wrong.

    I realise this might sound a bit of a “not in my backyard” response but it has just taken such a long time and the wonderful community support that was there 5 years ago has now been beaten down into despondent waiting for something that has encountered so many delays.

    Thanks Jon C, for keeping an eye on things for us.

  4. Simon says:

    That is my concern. Is a lot of money to be spent on what will ultimately be a temporary site? If a permanent site, how does it fit in with extending the rail to Avondale and Mangere/Airport?

  5. Susan says:

    Great news and article thanks. Do you have any background on why the perceived need for a park in ride though in the city? Surely the station should be served by people walking or cycling or catching the bus to the station (though I see there are some issues about that inter-connectivity).

  6. Jeremy Harris says:

    If the SAL or Airport line is built this station will go…

    The ARTA Chairman has apparently promised the station will be open 30th June to some pretty powerful politicians…

    I will however believe that when I see that, the station doesn’t even have resource consent or a rail designation yet…

  7. Jeremy Harris says:

    Sorry I should have said if the SAL is built on the SH20 alignment, if it is built on it’s current designation it crosses this branch at Te Papapa…

  8. karl says:

    “That is my concern. Is a lot of money to be spent on what will ultimately be a temporary site?”

    From what I have seen on some plans, there isn’t actually all that much planned. A single side platform, one pathway to Onehunga Harbour Road, one to Princess Street. One of the paths mobility-compliant. Some shelters.

    That’s it, in the short run. Not too costly.

    But yes, I understand the station layout will have to be changed if there is ever an Avondale line or a Mangere/Airport extension, because the new station platform will be off a mini spur (just as long as the platform). So no way to have through trains, it will be a mini terminus.

  9. Garth H says:

    Good to see the ITM building go but we are still a long way off. Don’t hold your breath for a mid year opening. Consent has still not been finalised with possible hearings in the pipeline. Even if things are fast tracked there is still a great deal of work to be done, not just at the Onehunga Station site but at level crossings down the line. I believe trains wont roll until Sep - Oct at the earliest. To put it mildly planning for the project has been a disaster.

  10. Jon C says:

    @Susan It has become common for park n rides to be added where possible to encourage the motorists who would use public transport but live away from the actual station and have no idea where to park all day.
    It’s been very popular when added to the Northern Busway centres.


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