Kenepuru on rail hit list
Kenepuru Railway Station’s future looks shaky, with its low usage and regular vandalism likely to be decisive as a region-wide review is carried out.
Greater Wellington Regional Council’s recent Annual Plan process had a ‘‘regional rail package’’ as part of its key projects. Seventy per cent of its expenditure for 2011-12 is on transport, with $80 million flagged as GWRC takes ownership of the region’s railway stations.
Although $ 2.5m will be spent on carpark and station upgrades, it is unlikely GWRC will want to spend much on Kenepuru, which has 20-25 users during peak travel times – the lowest in the region.
Kapi-Mana News reported in July 2009 that Kenepuru, which is accessed through Linden and behind the light industrial area off Kenepuru Dr, was on the chopping block, but nothing materialised.
Greater Wellington economic wellbeing committee chairman Peter Glensor says they have signalled a review of all the platforms as the new Ganz-Mavag units are rolled out. While nothing has been decided, he says Kenepuru will be ‘‘problematic’’.
‘‘It is on the agenda, the platform is in a bad state of repair and not many people use it. There’s no timing at this stage, but we are having a detailed look at all our assets as we look to introduce these new trains. There will be consultation [ with the public] before anything is decided.’’
Any arguments on its proximity to Kenepuru Hospital are calmed by a widely-used free shuttle from Porirua station.
GWRC Porirua/Tawa councillors, Jenny Brash and Barbara Donaldson, are understandably nervous that another station in their zone faces closure. Muri station at Pukerua Bay closed at the end of April.
Ms Brash says, ‘‘Having two in one area [close] is not what people want to hear. I know it’s not a station that’s well used at night, but we’ll need more information. I think it is still early days.’’
Ms Donaldson says they need to hear from regular users who would be affected. Neither she nor Ms Brash is on the committee that will decide the station’s fate.
Rail historian David Parsons says Kenepuru Station has no heritage value.
‘‘I wouldn’t say it’s particularly loved, its patronage is worse than Muri’s was and there’s no street parking [for commuters]. There is a lot of vandalism – every time they [KiwiRail] fix up the shelter, it gets damaged.
‘‘As a rail enthusiast I don’t like seeing any stations closing but it’s not like losing Tawa or Linden stations, say. I can see why it’s first on the hit list.’’