Saving Queens Train Line


The debate about the Queens Wharf sheds and whether they should be saved is a debate worth having.

Personally, despite my desire to see more of Auckland’s heritage preserved, I can’t get as sentimental as others about the sheds when they take up prime space on what I’d like to see as an open waterfront area.

But saving the railway line on the wharf?

This is getting a little silly.

It’s just a railway line. There are plenty more of them around Auckland.

The debate about the sheds has now widened to such parts of the wharf.

The Historic Places Trust, in talks with the ARC over the sheds, says in a statement:

“The heritage significance of Queens Wharf is not only in these buildings but in the associated features that allowed the wharf to operate.

The railway lines, berthings, and the wharf’s context including its relationship to other wharves all help to tell the story of the port as a whole.”

This is what they are talking about:

Queens Wharf railway line

I can imagine the drunk RWC 2011 hoons tripping over the lines and breaking their ankle all for the sake of some sort of historical significance.

But back to reality: If any of this stuff is being kept including the sheds, can we for once, not do a charade facade?

The trust failed badly in compromising over the bank buildings in lower Queen St. In the end we got part of the old buildings kept instead of saving them as a whole.

The facade is a total nonsense and only reminds us what was there and has been vandalised.

The $200m 21-level Deloitte Centre may be a modern “eco friendly” building but the old Jean Batten building got destroyed.
The compromise of saving brass lights, a flagpole, emblems and entry foyers is not good enough.

Jean Batten Building became a silly facade

A horrible shopping mall sits behind this BNZ facade

Thankfully the former downtown grand old Central Post Office is an example of what can be lovingly restored and put to good use.

Auckland's old central post office became Britomart Transport centre

Britomart is what is being used as an example by some of those pushing for the Queens Wharf sheds to be saved and restored.

That’s a fair enough call.
But the railway line? Even as a train guy, I can’t get excited about it.




  1. ingolfson says:

    I agree that the rail track is not really worth saving. Heck, they can, if they want to, install a fake rail line across the future layout if the designers think it fits the feel of the area. But don’t restrict the future design by putting that under heritage protection.

    I am somewhat of a more positive view than you Jon, on Facadism, though. The BNZ facade you show above may not have a real old building behind it, but I prefer it - A LOT - to another glass box. Partial wins are still wins if the alternative is a loss!

  2. Jeremy Harris says:

    There is still a lot of rail on Princess wharf the one the Hilton is on, looks like they just left whatever wasn’t in the way: good idea…

  3. Steve W says:

    If someone’s worried about the railway line being a hazard Jon, it could possibly tarred over last the vast majority of similar railway line on wharves throughout the country. The tar could perhaps be removed if required at a later point in time.

  4. Simon says:

    Saving a shed (no matter how old) simply for the sake of having an old thing is utter madness. A folly of Political Correctness gone mental.
    It’s an ugly, utilitarian shed. Fit for purpose in it’s day - but hardly the stuff of ‘cultural heritage’ having briefly housed a bunch of long-since binned imported tat.
    I’m certain Auckland’s fore-fathers would laugh their collective arses off, that such a grotesque dilapidated garage would stir such a lunatic response.
    Bulldoze it, rip up the dis-used rail track & give Auckland something it can be proud of.

  5. Mark says:

    To see the potential of the sheds - look at the current refurb of the North Wharf in Wynyard qtr - a great character building - with modern uses. It will be elased for cafes etc


    The choice is keep and evaluate the current sheds for a while - refurb for cafes/public space etc, and cruise ships.
    the Lee plan - bowl them for a new cruise ship terminal - he won;t tell you what it will look like - how big / how much of Queens wharf will no longer be “public”….just trust him and bowl these so he can carry on

  6. Joshua says:

    Mark - looking at those photos I say I will go for Lee Plan.


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