An Exceptional Renovation by KiwiRail of The Strand Train Station 66 The Strand, Parnell, Auckland
Congratulation to KiwiRail on the excellent restoration and renovation of the station and signal box buildings at 66 The Strand, Parnell.
The buildings now house the ticketing office for travellers to check-in and enjoy a coffee in the café prior to boarding the Northern Explorer, a passenger train operated by Great Journeys New Zealand (a division of KiwiRail) running between Auckland and Wellington, and the Te Huia train that runs a return service from The Strand to Frankton, Hamilton twice a day during the week, and once on Saturdays.
The main building, with the gantry and café, was a mechanical workshop and the building closest to the tracks was used as a signal box, managing train movements before electronic controlling was introduced, and both date from around 1930. They are located only a few hundred metres from the original Auckland Train Station, now converted into residential apartments. Both structures are clad in brick, with Marseille roof tiles and the original Crittall steel frame windows. Access is off Ngaoho Place via The Strand, with limited parking.
The interior of both buildings has been completely restored and carefully renovated, adding modern amenities including a café with an external seating area enclosed by an awning, a comfortable waiting lounge with free WIFI and workspace areas, and the ticketing office. A covered glass feature joins both buildings sympathetically and creates a welcoming entranceway. Above the café on a mezzanine floor is office space for KiwiRail staff and a number of vacant rooms for meetings.
Original features such as the internal doors and exterior windows, exposed rafters, restored signal box signage, and the old compressed air tank at the rear of the building all add to the special character of this heritage building.
A number of quirky features have been used to add some humour to the renovation including toilet facilities names after Thomas the Tank Engine characters and a ‘naughty step’ sign at the bottom of the modern internal stairwell.
The Strand Train Station is a great addition to New Zealand’s heritage buildings and a good place for visitors and tourists to Auckland to start their travels around the North Island from. A huge thank you to Phillip Corbett, the Customer and Crew Manager of Great Journeys New Zealand at KiwiRail, for showing us around.