Should We Save The Strand?


What an eyesore.
As you pass west-bound alongside what served Auckland as its Parnell-based 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.
It looks so unkempt and decaying.
Apparently it is. Pieces of concrete have fallen off the station canopies.

How the Strand platform looks today

Thankfully the station, used only for the odd enthusiasts or Mainline Steam excursion stop, is to have a new life.
It will be an emergency station for the RWC2011 - in case something goes wrong at Britomart. A wise decision.

Work on creating that begins in a few weeks.
But now there’s unrest among the heritage advocates about removing some of the canopies. Just two representative sections of the canopy on one of the five existing platforms will be kept.

Auckland's tired neglected Strand railway platform

The Historic Places Trust lists the platforms and T-shaped overhead shelters as “notable features” in Category 1 registration of Auckland Railway Station - built between 1928 and 1930.

The old station is rundown and leased in part as a car park and display area but still has a rail connection between the southern and eastern lines along the main platform. There will also be a stabling park.

The grand station building thankfully remains although it’s had that  chequered career as a leaky apartment building.

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 old railway station at the Strand

At neighbouring Quay Park, work has been done to get ready for electrification.

Should we really be worrying about saving every piece of the crumbling Strand station when it’s time to move on in an era of electrification?




  1. Andrew Miller says:

    Keeping examples of the old platform shelters yes. All of them no.And those kept need to be earthquake proofed and looked after. In an earthquake all could be lost. And who pays?

  2. Chris R says:

    It needs to be kept as a fully functional station. The canopies are irrelevant and should be demolished.

  3. Steve W says:

    There’s no room for sentimentality without functionality in the CBD unfortunately.

    When the curve was put in to serve Britomart most functionality was lost. The far platform and canopy should be retained though. Here’s a fun video showing it in use a few years ago

  4. James Pole says:

    Just get rid of it all and build a station to the same standard as a normal Auckland station if the budget permits. Or at least build to the ‘tempoary’ station standard (e.g. like the temporary Newmarket West platforms). Or a combination of the two (e.g. one or two main ‘normal standard’ platforms with a few additional ‘tempoary standard’ platforms).

    The old canopies should be removed and one example preserved away from operational railway land.

  5. Roger says:

    Keep the platform and canopy nearest the Strand, it’s a great location for boarding heritage trains. Perhaps the signal building to the west could ultimately become part of a rail museum.

    The rest, being enclosed by lines, are irrelevant and need to go. I suppose the Puhutakwa trees will need to be relocated, that will add to the cost.

  6. Rich says:

    -My fantasy would be to move the station brick by brick to some other location where it could become a fully functional station again. Sydney’s “old” railway station is located some way away from the centre of the city, which suggests to me that a similarly distant but high-use location could be suitable (definitely on the southern edge).

    -Realistically perhaps keep the minimum number of platforms to meet legal requirements wrt historic buildings. +1 to the “get rid of the rest” comments. The building itself could see better use, if only better tenants could be found, but I guess getting there could be an issue (the irony!)

  7. Roger says:

    So much for proof reading, I mean the signal box/building to the east.

    Does anyone know when this building will become vacant?

  8. Jeff H says:

    We should save “The Strand” and its character too.

    With an overpass walkway we’d have a well placed station to serve the crowds at Vector Arena and ease Brtomart congestion.

  9. James B says:

    @Rich: My dream is that we build a national stadium over the junction with entrances on Quay Street, the Strand and through the old railway station. It would be awesome to have the tennis centre, Vector and a full sized stadium in one easy to access location.

  10. Bruno says:

    I agree with the suggestion to keep as much the canopy above platform 4 (the old platform 7, buy the carpark) as possible. The rest should go as they serve no useful purpose anymore and realistically won’t in the future either.

    The signalbox + platform 7 would make a pretty groovy station for heritage trains to depart and arrive at.

  11. DanC says:

    Keep the east one and the signal box for heritage use. The rest redo into modern platforms as a fail safe if a problem occurs at Britomart and for future use when needed. On another note the space between Gladstone Road and Tamaki Drive should be reserved for an intercity train station. (of course this should be at Britomart but due to space constraints…)

  12. Finn says:

    I thought I heard that The Strand was going to be turned into a train stabling centre like Henderson, Papakura, & Pukekohe. I think they should rebuild the main platform for heritage use i.e. Mainline Steam, and in the rebuilding of the new platform they could use the old Papatoetoe station for the building.

  13. carl says:

    I you really want a Super City, you have to come to terms with changes. The Canopies & The Stand is a defunct part of Auckland’s yesterday. It’s an eyesore now & serves no purpose.
    If you want to devolope a truely impressive Metro Service over time, you are going to have to remove ALL other rail usage from & around the Port of Auckland.
    Here is a solution. Remove The Strand & develope for high rise inner city appartments. Remove the Container Port in Auckland to Tauranga. That way there is no further need for Non Metro rail to access Auckland, including your Long Distance overnight train from Wgton. All Non Metro rail would then use the Industrial areas South of Ak as much already does at Inland Terminal. Of, & by the way. Pull down the Old Railway Station Building as well.

  14. James B says:

    @carl. Why pull down the railway station, it’s a great building. Besides its category 1 and therefore cannot be pulled down.

  15. George D says:

    Blow it up! Knock it down!

    The dead hand of the past holds the future hostage. Demolish the Parnell buildings too, while we’re at it.

  16. mark says:

    What poetic rubbish, George D. My grandfather doesn’t hold me hostage, nor do our old buildings hold our current architecture as hostages.

    They are a core part of Auckland. If you want all-new cities, go live in a planned city in China or a subdivision in the greenfields of Auckland. Most of us actually want some history to go with all the chrome and glass of architects who design with computers, and for accountants.

  17. Bryan says:

    Jeff H, no need for an overpass, the historic underpass between the old station and the platforms still exists, and could be reopened.


Leave a Comment


XHTML: You can use these tags:
<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>