Newmarket Rail Station Hero

Dart 1: Newmarket Rail Station: An inspired solution

Newmarket is Auckland’s second-busiest railway station, after Britomart. It is a key junction in Auckland’s rail network. In order to meet future demand of a projected 17,000 passenger movements per day by 2016, compared to 3,500 in 2009, and to cater for six trains every hour in each direction during peak times, it was marked to be upgraded as part of ONTRACK’s Project Dart. Hawkins was appointed the main contractor.

ONTRACK and Auckland Regional Transport Authority’s (ARTA) aims:

  • To increase the station’s capacity in order to operate a reliable passenger service of six trains per peak hour in each direction and to provide for easy transfer activities between southern and western line services.
  • To cater for future growth, which is estimated at 17,000 passenger movements per day in 2016, compared to the current level of 3,500 (in 2009).

What we did:

We were the main contractor delivering the $48M Dart 1 project. This two-year rebuild required major works in a tightly confined and busy space. Work included:

  • The redevelopment of Newmarket station
  • The creation of 1.3km of rail track
  • The replacement of the Remuera road bridge
  • The creation of a new 80 metre concrete pedestrian bridge.

The new station saw the creation of major new structures including concourses, platforms, foot bridges, roof canopies, lifts, escalators, stairs, ramps and a variety of fixtures, fittings and associated services including acoustic design. Each of these features was constructed around/over a fully operational rail corridor.

In order to allow for the future electrification of Auckland's rail network, we laid the new replacement track lower than the former line. This required extensive earthworks in a highly restricted environment. Consequently, Remuera road bridge had to be removed and rebuilt at a higher elevation.

The replacement bridge was built from precast concrete bridge deck units spanning reinforced concrete piers (with piled foundations and impact protection to piers) and was substantially reconfigured to provide improved pedestrian access to the main entrance of the new station.

Unique challenges:

  • Access during construction was one of the most challenging issues on this project. The shape and location of the site presented particular difficulties right from the outset of the design phase, as it was surrounded by commercial and residential premises in very close proximity to the main work area. The site was long and narrow, 660m by 27m, with access at the end furthest away from the location of the actual station building.
  • Except during pre-booked rail shutdowns (typically arranged over public holidays), we had to programme works around the train timetables (with trains running at 10-15 minute intervals during peak times). This placed severe restrictions on the movement of vehicles, construction plant and personnel. As a result, many major construction elements were delivered and/or erected after 10pm after the last train for the night had passed through the site. A staged methodology mitigated the impact of construction over the live rail line and minimised requirements for full line closures.
  • Construction activity had to comply with ONTRACK's health and safety requirements for working adjacent to a live railway and this, coupled with unusual site dimensions and access, meant many standard construction techniques had to be modified.
  • We developed a Site Specific Environmental Plan, which took into account the management of contaminated material on the site, noise (especially given the close proximity of the surrounding residents and businesses), dust and sediment. This site was audited by Telarc as part of Hawkins’ successful ISO14001 certification process. The auditor was impressed by the level of environmental awareness on the site and the implementation of sound environmental systems.
  • We engaged a dedicated and specialist community liaison officer to inform the public of the construction activity and to handle all the questions that arose. This officer worked closely with ONTRACK's own community liaison team to ensure that a consistent message was delivered.

The outcome:

Following the opening of the new station on 18 January 2010, passenger numbers at Newmarket have increased significantly, taking pressure off the local road network.

As well as modernising the facilities and appearance, the redevelopment improved connections between the station and the surrounding commercial and residential areas. It provides an inspired public transport solution in this busy precinct. 

The vision for the station was to develop a truly world class 21st century passenger transport facility and create an attractive addition to the urban environment. The result is a functional, airy, user friendly, accessible, appropriate open space. It is hard not to be impressed by the attention to detail with the design and conception, from the open spaces of the concourse to the innovative light box at the Remuera Road entrance. Providing good well-designed facilities is a key element to attracting more people to use public transport

Dr David Warburton

Chief Executive, Auckland Transport