Kenepuru on rail hit list

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By KRIS DANDO

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.’’

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