Wellington Railway Station


Category
Engineering Plant (eg railway, locomotive, car, plane)

Description

When opened in 1937, this railway station was New Zealand’s largest building and one of the first seismic proofed structures in the country. 

The building covers 0.6 hectares and the original floor area was 2 ha, comprising 250 rooms and 1.2 km of corridors. Two storeys were added to the northern end of the Featherston Street wing during World War II.

The station was built to accommodate 675 railways department head office and district staff, and also to replace Wellington’s two former stations, Lambton and Thorndon. All of Wellington city's early railway stations have been removed.

The new railway station was built on reclaimed land and was designed in accordance with studies of seismic effects on contemporary buildings in Japan. The steel frame is encased in reinforced concrete and supported on groups of reinforced concrete piles. Bricks used for the outer cladding are of a special design with slots to accommodate vertical rods reinforcing the brickwork and binding it to the structural members. The building required 1.75 million bricks, plus 1500 tonnes of decorative stone (granite and marble).

Wellington Railway Station has worn well. It still copes with daily passenger loads with very little alteration having proved necessary. In its first year, 7600 passengers made 15,200 trips on 140 trains daily. Today, 22,000 passengers make 44,000 trips on 390 trains. (These figures exclude long distance services).

As well as an impressive functional record, the building is a dignified and largely undated structure, the architecture of which is impressive.


Heritage Recognition

IPENZ “Engineering to 1990” project

This item of New Zealand’s engineering heritage was recognised as part of the IPENZ “Engineering to 1990” project which the Institution organised to help celebrate the country’s sesquicentenary in 1990. A plaque was unveiled to mark the significance of this railway station as part of the development of the nation.

This place has been recognised by Heritage New Zealand as a Category 1 historic place (List no.1452) 
Wellington Railway Station: New Zealand Heritage List/Rarangi Korero information (www.heritage.org.nz).

This place is on the Rail Heritage Trust of New Zealand's Register/National Rail Heritage Collection as a Category A building. (www.railheritage.org.nz)


Attachments

No Attachments

Location

Bunny Street, Wellington



Region/s
Wellington / Kapiti

Access Info
The railway station is open to the public. Access to office areas are restricted.

Nature of Engineering
Rail Transportation, Building and Construction

 


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IPENZ Engineering to 1990 plaque

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Old and new railway stations, Wellington, ca 1935. ID: PAColl-7081-11. Permission of the Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand, must be obtained before any re-use of this image.

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Gray Young, Morton & Young (Architects): Wellington Railway Station, ca 1937. New Zealand Freelance: Photographic prints and negatives, ID: 1/2-101158-G. Permission of the Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand, must be obtained before any re-use of this image.

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Crowd at Wellington Railway Station, 1950. Evening Post: Photographic negatives and prints of the Evening Post newspaper, ID: 114/201/22-F. Permission of the Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand, must be obtained before any re-use of this image.

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Evening Post Photos. VISIT TO STATlON—Members of the conference of the New Zealand Society of Civil Engineers yesterday paid a visit to the new Wellington Railway Station. At top some of the visitors are shown inspecting new platforms. Below, visiting the main substation which supplies power to the railway station and yards (Evening Post, 21 February 1936). Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://beta.natlib.govt.nz/records/19454635

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Lat: -41.279505 Long: 174.780035