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"Railway Station - more than a Place of Transport" Top 5 Page for this destination Wellington Things to Do Tip by Kakapo2

Wellington Things to Do: 194 reviews and 328 photos

  Dorian columns dominate the main entrance.
by Kakapo2

This is much more than a place where trains depart and arrive. It is a majestic building in late Classical style, designed by the architectural firm Gray Young, Morton and Young, and opened in 1937. Until then there were two terminals (Lambton and Thorndon) for the different lines. At the time it was the country’s largest building.

The U-shaped building, located beside the Old Government Building, encloses the platforms on three sides. It is 27.5 metres high and 105.5 metres long, and has six storeys. As it sits on reclaimed land, it was constructed on reinforced concrete piles grounded on the original harbour bed.

The front entrance of the Railway Station building is dominated by a colonnade of eight 13 metre high Doric columns. 1.75 million bricks were used for the exterior.

The booking hall is light and bright, decorated with mottled dados that extend to the high vaulted ceiling. A compass design decorates the marble terrazzo floor. The hall opens to the roofed platforms.

You can walk from the platforms straight to the Westpac Stadium further west.
The monumental scale of the building reflects the importance of railways in New Zealand during the first half of the 20th century – unfortunately it has become insignificant in the meantime. The ground floor was redeveloped in 1989, and extensive renovations took place in 1999/2000. So now you see the building in its full beauty, as an architectural masterpiece of national significance.

The station is New Zealand’s busiest station, with lots of commuter trains servicing the Manawatu, the Hutt Valley and the Wairarapa.

The Government acquired the station from Tranz Rail in 2003, and it is currently managed by the New Zealand Railways Corporation ONTRACK on their behalf. The east wing houses the head office of ONTRACK. Train control for the whole country, Toll NZ's Tranz Metro and Tranz Scenic passenger services and Interislander ferry service are managed from there. The Overlander service from Wellington to Auckland was close to be scrapped some years ago, but after public protest it was kept on running.

In the basement you find a New World supermarket, and west of the the station is the bus terminal which services most bus routes, including the Airport Flyer – but NOT Karori.

Update 1 July 2008
In May 2008 the Government bought back Railways NZ from from Toll Holdings. On 1 July 2008 the company got a new name and a new logo. It is now KiwiRail. First main target is to upgrade the rails over the next five years and get freight back from the roads to the rails. The total spending will exceed more than one billion NZ dollar.

Address: Thorndon Quay/Bunny Street/Waterloo Quay
Directions: Close to Parliamentary Buildings, beside Old Government Building, main entrance on Bunny Street

Review Helpfulness: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Jun 30, 2008
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