Raahui Pookeka/Huntly railway station journey to restoration
Waikato District Council is extremely proud of the significant upgrades the Raahui Pookeka | Huntly railway station has undergone over the past 18 months. The asset continues to be further restored with the relocation of the historic railway station building underway from Lake Puketirini’s reserve. Waikato District Council and the Waikato District Alliance are aiming to have the relocation project completed by early 2022.
Waikato District Council formed the Waikato District Alliance (WDA) partnership with Downer in 2015 to maintain works in roading and other assets within the district.
Over the past two and a half years, the WDA has built a new rail platform, installed security operations and lighting of the station.
The project also included a new park & ride facility, taxi bays, passenger information display boards, and walking and cycling links.
The upgrades and enhancements were integral to the launch of the Te Huia passenger rail service in April 2021, connecting the Waikato to Auckland.
Despite challenges due to Covid-19, the WDA completed the project $200,000 under budget, the surplus was donated back to the wider Te Huia project.
Waikato Regional Council’s Rail Programme Management Office has commended the WDA on the upgrades completed so far, stating that the work has been to a high standard and exceeded expectations.
The hard work has not stopped though, as the relocation of the historic railway station building back to its original site is underway.
In 2008, the building was relocated to Lake Puketirini with the intention that it would host the Waikato Coalfields Museum.
But the Museum Committee has advocated for the return of the building to the station since 2017 and have done significant groundwork to enable Council to action the project.
The Committee will take over tenancy of the building once it has been sited, which continues to solidify the strong working relationship Council has formed with the Committee.
Waikato District Council is grateful for the $100k financial contribution that Genesis have made, and for their ongoing support towards the project.
The WDA will relocate the building, guided by the Museum Committee, Huntly Community Board, Iwi and Genesis. The detailed process considers many things, including:
- Strengthening of the building to ensure longevity,
- Gaining approval from KiwiRail for the move,
- Building consent compliance,
- Lease and sub-lease approval,
- Health and safety compliance (ongoing),
- Stakeholder engagement (ongoing)
- Design planning and fit out with architects.
The planned completion of October 2021 is now unlikely due to the complexities of relocation and Covid-19 restrictions.
However, the project continues to steam ahead and has an estimated completion date of early 2022.
Once completed, residents of Huntly, Te Huia passengers, and the wider community will be able to enjoy the railway station in its entirety.
The building will boast a stunning museum with cultural history of significance to the town, new restroom facilities, meeting rooms for hire and artwork on display - making it a destination to visit for those from near and far.
Councillor Eugene Patterson is thrilled with the work completed by the WDA and commended the ongoing success of the partnership.
“The restoration and upgrades to the railway station have been needed for some time; with the significant growth our district continues to face,” he said.
“The upgrades have been a critical part of delivering the wider Te Huia service, connecting the Waikato to Auckland, and provides our residents with a high-quality transport hub.
With this historic building back to its rightful place, Huntly will be able to showcase this asset to the rest of Aotearoa, while connecting two large regions in the North Island.”