Kaiwharawhara train station overbridge stairs relocated

Last updated 15:03 31/03/2014
Kaiwharawhara train station
ON THE MOVE: The staircases to the pedestrian overbridge at Kaiwharawhara Railway Station are being removed and relocated to Trentham Railway Station.

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Metal stairways from Kaiwharawhara Railway Station's pedestrian overbridge are being relocated to the Trentham Railway Station. 

Contractors began demolishing the stairway overbridge on the Kaiwharawhara Railway Station late on Sunday night and early Monday morning.

Titan cranes removed a section of the Kaiwharawhara walkway nearest to the harbour.

Late last year Greater Wellington Regional Council decided to close the station and demolish the 'heavily corroded overbridge.'

However, regional council spokeswoman Philippa Lagan said the metal stairways remained structurally sound and would be relocated to Trentham. 

She said the demolition work on the Kaiwharawhara overbridge began late on Sunday night and would be continued tonight. 

Kaiwharawhara Station was unexpectedly closed in June last year after structural engineers found dangerous levels of corrosion on the overbridge structure used by pedestrians to access the station platforms.

The 2013 closure decision meeting heard how replacing the bridge would cost about $2.4 million because of the difficulty of installing access ramps, which there is no space for.

Repairing the existing structure for $550,000 was an option, but only if the council was granted special exemption not to have access ramps.

A report by council officers argued the cost could not be justified,  given just 14 people use Kaiwharawhara Station during the morning peak.

Some councillors questioned the robustness of those figures pointing to a survey in 2004 that estimated more than 100 people used the station every day.

The council's manager of rail operations, Angus Gabara, admitted the patronage figures did fluctuate. But he pointed out the 2004 numbers were an "estimate" rather than a count.

Public transport portfolio leader Paul Swain said the overbridge was a serious safety risk and the council could not justify taking money from elsewhere in its "highly constrained" budget to repair it.

Regional council chairwoman Fran Wilde said it was important the public realised the platforms would be retained as an emergency disembarking point.

"If there is a need in the future and there is the opportunity to do something with the station, then that can be looked at."

Councillor Gary McPhee said going from a temporary closure to a full closure without any formal public consultation was not democratic.

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Kaiwharawhara Station is about 2.6 kilometres north of Wellington Railway Station

- Wellington

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