Boston Road Railway Station
|MAXX Urban rail|
The station in 2007. Above: looking east. Below: looking west.
|Owned by||ONTRACK and ARTA|
|Closed||10 April 2010|
Boston Road Railway Station was on the Western Line of the Auckland Suburban Railway Network, near St Peter's College and Auckland Grammar School. The station was below State Highway 1, one of the busiest motorways in New Zealand. At the southern end of the station is the north western wall of Mt Eden Prison. The station closed on 10 April 2010, the day after the opening of the new Grafton station, and has since been largely demolished.
Until the station itself was double-tracked to Mt Eden in 2005, morning trains ran on the right through the loop and afternoon trains on the left, avoiding the need for St Peter's and Grammar pupils to cross the line.
The line played an important part in the history of St Peter's College. From the time the school opened in 1939 many students came from the western suburbs of Auckland using the train service (known at that time at St Peter's College as the "North train") to attend the school. Until 1964 the nearest station was Mt Eden station, a ten-minute walk to or from the school. By 1964 about 250 St Peter's boys were using the train and walking between Mt Eden station and the school.
Brother T. A. Monagle, who supervised the train boys and who travelled on the train each day for that purpose, approached the Railways Department to request that the train stop at the school. The college had several reasons for asking that the trains should stop there. "The traffic in Mt Eden Road had become very heavy, and was a constant danger to the younger and more thoughtless of our pupils, and another source of considerable danger existed at Mt Eden station where supervision was necessary to prevent accidents when the boys were boarding the train. Again, the train would disgorge its pupils at Mt Eden and then chug merrily past the school almost empty, leaving the boys to walk half a mile, often in heavy rain." Brother Monagle persuaded the Minister of Railways, Mr John McAlpine, to come and see for himself. In fact the Minister volunteered to walk up to the Mt Eden station from the school. "Well, somebody must have been pulling some strings up above, because on the day of the Minister's visit it rained cats and dogs, and even the odd pink elephant ..." and Brother Monagle's request was granted. The North train stopped at the St Peter's College station for the first time at 8.30am on Tuesday 15 September 1964 for the 250 St Peter's College boys and a dozen from Auckland Grammar.
Another noteworthy event occurred in November 1965, when, for the last time, the North train was pulled by a steam engine. It was the last passenger train in the North Island to be pulled by a steam locomotive.
In relation to Brother Monagle, " ... it is generally agreed that he deserved the rank of Railway Employee. Surely no single person has ever held down so many positions at once - stationmaster, signalman, ticket inspector and guard, not to mention construction engineer, traffic officer and the occasional shot at engine-driving! During the many years that he was associated with the train, Brother Monagle became friends with most of the railway employees along the line as he made his trip each afternoon as far as Mt Albert". Initially, only the "school" trains stopped at St Peter's College, once in the morning and once in the afternoon. The St Peter's College station attained full public station status with all trains stopping there from 1993 and was named the Boston Road Station.
ONTRACK reconstructed two road bridges just to the east of the station to allow double-tracking in the section towards Newmarket Train Station, and to prepare for electrification. As part of the project, the train station shifted several hundred metres to the northeast, between Park Road and Khyber Pass Road, where a new bus / railway station was built. The station was renamed the Grafton station. This station is able to better serve the Central Connector and sites like the Auckland Hospital and the future development on the Lion Brewery site while still preserving direct access to their school for the hundreds of St Peter's College students who commute daily by train.
- List of Auckland railway stations
- List of Auckland Transport customer service centres
- Their Own Station, Auckland Star, Tuesday 15 September 1964, p. 4,
- Auckland Libraries heritage photos, No 7-A945 (retrieved 6 June 2011) (Photograph taken 25 July 1964 - Unknown photographer) The track used by St Peter's train boys, having walked along Boston Rd from the Mt Eden Station, to cross the railway line before climbing up to the School.
- Our Railway Station, St Peter's College Magazine 1964, St Peter's College, Page 39
- The School Train, St Peter's Magazine 1968, pages 25 and 26.
- Sean Millar, Railway Stations of Auckland's Western Line: Boston Road to Waitakere before the 2004 upgrade programme, 2nd edition, Sean Millar, Huia, 2007, p. 4.
- Newmarket's Western Line - Kingdon St to Boston Rd (from the 'ProjectDart.org.nz' website of ONTRACK. Accessed 2008-12-29.)
- Newmarket Western Line Redevelopment (DART 2) Kingdon Street to Boston Road (September 2008 timeline flyer) (from the 'ProjectDart.org.nz' website of ONTRACK. Accessed 2008-12-29.)