Mt Albert Train Station  Hero

Mt Albert Rail Station redevelopment: Bringing a new lease of life to Mt Albert

The Mt Albert Rail Station serves schools, Unitec and local residences. More than 2,100 people use it each day. The aging station was in dire need of an upgrade. There were mismatched passenger shelters, which provided little protection from Auckland’s unpredictable weather, the platform’s surface was patchy in places, there were limited passenger information displays and the old concrete ramp wasn’t meeting the needs of less mobile passengers.

Mt Albert was one of the last stations on the Western line to be improved as part of Auckland Transport’s upgrade programme. They engaged Hawkins and we began work in late December 2012.

 

Auckland Transport’s aims:

  • To attract more people to use public transport by providing well-designed facilities
  • To improve access to the station and develop Mt Albert into a significant transport hub where passengers can easily transfer between trains and buses
  • To link the railway station with the proposed town centre upgrade.

What we did:

We removed the existing footbridge and constructed a new link bridge, concourse and lift shaft and upgraded the platforms by constructing new shelters and platform extensions and putting in lighting, seating, signage, tactile sufacing, ducting, drainage, and all finishing works.

We embellished the cladding and glazing with a striking piece of artwork, ‘Owairaka’, designed by artists Henriata Nicholas and Marc Lenton of Moko-ia Creative House. It explores the connection between land and sky. The stylised poutama (stepped) patterns depict both palisades and/or a stairway to heaven. The tapatoru (triangle) pattern makes links to the maunga (mountain) of Owairaka from which the artwork takes its name.

Because the station is located in a busy residential and commercial area, communication with the public and local businesses and minimising disruption to those in the area were crucial to delivering the project. As a result we monitored the noise levels and strived to use alternative tools and methods to reduce noise disruption. We also carried out the works within a very tight timeframe.

Unique challenges:

  • The station remained open throughout the project making access difficult. It was vital to ensure we delivered the project safely. As a result, our project team planned works around key closures of the network as well as ensuring we did what we could during night time and weekends.
  • We were awarded the contract late in the process and, as a result, had to compress the demolition, piling and precast installation into a very tight timeframe over the Christmas and New Year period.
  • One of the biggest challenges was coordinating with the project designer. When we began work the design was not complete and it evolved and changed over the course of the project. Our team had to incorporate these changes while still meeting the client’s timeframes.
  • In order to speed up the consent process, the consent was divided into three stages:
    • demolition and piling
    • concrete works
    • steel structure and finishing works, including cladding, glazing and the lift shaft.

The outcome:

The refurbished station was officially opened to the public on 6 July 2013. The Albert-Eden Board, Auckland Transport and the then Leader of the New Zealand Labour Party and MP for Mt Albert, David Shearer, attended the opening ceremony at which a traditional Maori blessing took place.