New Auckland Railway Station Building Open Today
KiwiRail has today opened a new station building in central Auckland, for travellers to check in and relax prior to boarding their Northern Explorer scenic or Te Huia train journey.
66 The Strand, a former railway signals building which dates from around 1930, is located only a few hundred metres down The Strand platform, near the bottom of the Parnell Rise. The building has maintained its character by retaining its brick façade and ornate doors. The inside has been completely restored and renovated, adding modern features, such as a new café, waiting lounge and workspace area.
The building was officially opened this morning with a karakia from representatives of KiwiRail’s Maori network Te Kupenga Mahi.
KiwiRail Chief Customer and Growth Officer Adele Wilson welcomed breathing new life into an outmoded rail asset.
“The signals building once played an important role managing train movements in this part of Auckland, before signals were centralised and controlled electronically.
“Instead of demolishing the building, I’m proud of what the team have done repurposing it for modern times. It’s now a comfortable, convenient, multi-purpose space that people can enjoy.
Ms Wilson says Great Journeys NZ Northern Explorer has seen attractive passenger numbers since the service restarted just over a year ago. In May 2024 KiwiRail is planning to start the high-quality Scenic Plus offering on the Northern Explorer.
“The new station building will help deliver an even better customer experience for Northern Explorer and Te Huia passengers, while keeping a strong link to New Zealand’s proud rail history.”
Waikato regional councillor and Future Proof Public Transport Subcommittee chair Angela Strange said the transformation of the old signals building was quite remarkable.
“It will provide the thousands of Te Huia passengers travelling between Waikato and Auckland each month with fantastic facilities, before they go and when they arrive. I know they’re going to love it.”
The timing couldn’t be better, Cllr Strange says, with the exciting next stage of service improvements rolling out on 8 February next year. A third daily return service will run on Thursdays and Fridays, where demand has been highest, and a second return service on Saturdays.
“Since Te Huia was first established, our focus has been on providing a reliable service for our passengers. Increasing the number of services and travel time options on weekdays and weekends remains a long-term goal for Te Huia.
“Overall customer satisfaction is at an all-time high of 98 per cent and the service is now regularly meeting, if not exceeding, its targets for weekday patronage as well. I am confident any improvements – including new facilities such as this one – will see Te Huia go from strength to strength,” Cllr Strange says.
Head of Visitor Economy Tātaki Auckland Unlimited Annie Dundas says the new station building is a wonderful extension of the tiaki (care) and manaakitanga (kindness and hospitality) the region offers manuhiri (guests).
“Great Journeys New Zealand scenic trains bring domestic and international visitors to Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland, playing an important role in the region’s wide range of vibrant tourism products and experiences. We warmly welcome the opening of this new building, which acknowledges the history of rail in Auckland while providing positive benefits to visitors now and into the future.”
The New Strand building is available to Great Journeys New Zealand customers to check in for their Northern Explorer scenic train journey and guided tours, and for Te Huia passengers. It has a café, comfortable waiting area, toilets and showers. Free WiFi will be available in the early part of next year.
In the future it will have an information counter, where customers can enquire at about booking Great Journeys New Zealand short break and guided tours product. Additionally, the station will be able to be booked to host events.
Accessibility improvements have also been made at The Strand. This includes a new permanent mobility ramp.