Newmarket Railway Station, New Zealand
|Newmarket Railway Station
Auckland Transport Urban rail
AM 129 on platform 3 of Newmarket station, on its first day of revenue service.
|Address||Remuera Road, Newmarket, Auckland|
|Line(s)||North Auckland Line
|Platforms||Island platforms, 180m|
|Rebuilt||January 2008 - 2010|
|Owned by||Auckland Transport, KiwiRail|
17,000/day (projected for 2016)
Newmarket Railway Station is in Newmarket, Auckland, New Zealand on the Southern and Western Lines of the Auckland railway network. In Newmarket's busy commercial centre, it is the second-busiest station in Auckland, after Britomart.
In its historic configuration it had an island platform, reached by a ramp from Remuera Road (opposite Nuffield Street) and from the end of Joseph Banks Terrace by a pedestrian overbridge. In 2008 the station building and signalbox were removed and a new building and platforms constructed on the same site over the following two years. From January 2010 the new station catered for increased patronage of up to 17,000 passengers a day by 2016 and has more entrances. During the redevelopment two temporary stations served the area, both now demolished: Newmarket West (also called Kingdon Street) and Newmarket South.
The old building was one of four island platform stations in Auckland designed and built by George Troup, Chief Engineer for the New Zealand Railways Department. The station was built in 1908, at the time of the installation of double track. Before closure, the head of the Newmarket Business Association had compared the situation at the dilapidated station as akin to Whangamomona, a railway ghost town in Taranaki, adding to the calls for a redevelopment of the station.
The signal box at the north end of the platform was built at the same time and was one of the few of that era on its original site and still in operation. It closed in early 2008 as part of project DART, being the last full-sized lever frame box on the national network.
The track layout of the former station, near Newmarket Junction (the junction of the Western and Southern Lines), forced some unusual movements. Trains from Britomart had to run past the junction to call at the station. There were two platforms in an island configuration, and all city-bound trains stopped at one platform, outwards trains stopping at the other. This was confusing as the outward-bound platform served both the Southern and Western Lines. This problem was solved by 'splitting' the platform into two: Southern Line trains stopped at the southern end of the platform, Western Line at the northern end. However the platform was short, so that this did not always resolve the confusion.
The above practice had become less prevalent following the higher frequency of the July 2007 timetable. From then trains used whichever platform was free, and trains could arrive without any indication of destination. Off-peak operations usually followed the traditional practice, but during the peak this was not practical. This led to problems of passenger confusion as to which train ran on which line.
During peak times Veolia staff were often present with megaphones to inform passengers of train destinations. The signal box was attended 24 hours per day and had control of all trains within the station and Junction.
For many years outbound Western Line trains reversed into a special siding, which then allowed them to enter the Western Line (to Waitakere). In July 2007 this reversing procedure ceased to be necessary, with the start of rebuilding as part of Project DART.
- Historic station building
The fate of the historically and architecturally significant old station building is controversial, with various proposals having been put forward to demolish, refurbish, or relocate the building. Following the announcement on 14 March 2007 of the budget for the station's upgrade, Minister of Finance Michael Cullen announced that $5 million would be put towards moving the building, possibly to a new site in Parnell where it could serve as a station for the Auckland War Memorial Museum in the Auckland Domain. The station building and signal box were removed from the site on 3 March 2008 to an undisclosed storage location, as ONTRACK feared the buildings could be vandalised.
Newmarket station was rebuilt for NZ$35 million as part of ONTRACKs Project DART. As well as modernising the facilities and appearance, the redevelopment improved connections between the station and the surrounding commercial and residential areas. The station now has a concourse level above the platforms, and entrances from a new square off Broadway, a 65m long covered bridge (capable of carrying emergency vehicles) off Remuera Road, and a pedestrian bridge from Joseph Banks Terrace, from the Remuera side.
The station retains the option of extending the concourse, with pedestrian entry off Broadway further north possible in the future. The current entrance off Broadway may also be widened, with Auckland Council considering demolishing two shops to widen the passage. Some criticism was made at the time of opening about the high step up into trains, which was considered necessary by the designers to allow freight trains to pass the platforms. Authorities noted that this was the same height as at other stations throughout the Auckland system with the exception of Britomart, which does not have freight trains passing. Authorities confirmed the vertical distance to step up to some train carriages would be up to 374 mm, but this would be reduced with new carriages specifically designed for the Auckland network, which are to be introduced with electrification.
- New track layout
Integral to the redevelopment was the requirement to reorganise the track layout. The new station has twin island platforms with three tracks. The outer faces of each platform serve Southern Line trains, and the inner faces on the centre track Western Line trains in both directions. The station cost an estimated NZ$25 million to redevelop (paid for by ARTA), and ONTRACK spent around NZ$45 million to change the layout. The project has been called the most challenging in the whole upgrade of Auckland's railway network.
- Pedestrian access
The new station has access points to the concourse above the platforms along a rebuilt bridge from Remuera Road (southern side) and via a bridge from Joseph Banks Terrace from the Remuera (eastern) side. Future accesses will be via a plaza between the new buildings that were erected during the late 2000s on former railway land between Broadway and Remuera Road (western side) and via a possible future access from the Broadway (northwest) side over an extended concourse to the north of the station, linking up with the main street over the existing tunnel south of the Olympic Pools area.
On April 27, 2014, Auckland's new AM class electric trains were debuted to the general public in a celebratory open day held at Britomart Transport Centre. As part of the day's events, 5000 Aucklanders were able to take a free ride on one of the new trains from Britomart, to Newmarket station and back. 
The electric trains officially entered public service on the rail network's Onehunga Line the following day.
The station's lighting design engineer, Opus International Consultants, won three New Zealand IES Lighting design awards in 2010 for the lighting design: an Award of Excellence, Award of Commendation and the Trends People's Choice Award for the innovative LED lantern box design on Remuera Road.
During the station redevelopment two temporary stations were built: Newmarket West (also called Kingdon Street) on the Western Line and Newmarket South, which is approximately 200m from the original station along the Southern Line. Both stations were demolished in December 2009/January 2010 just prior to the reopening of Newmarket station in January 2010.
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