Wellington commuters were treated to muffins and cake as they passed through Wellington Railway Station to mark the building’s 75th birthday. The Minister of Transport, Gerry Brownlee, also paid the building a visit to join in the birthday celebrations.
The Minister joined KiwiRail Chief Executive Jim Quinn, Greater Wellington Chair Fran Wilde and KiwiRail staff to cut the birthday cake and pose in front of a steam train, an English Electric, a Ganz Mavag and a Matangi – four trains representing the past 75 years of commuter services in Wellington – which were lined up on the station platforms.
When opened in 1937, the station accommodated 675 railways department head office and district staff, and replaced Wellington’s two former stations, Lambton and Thorndon. Around 7,600 people passed through the station daily in the first year of the building’s inception.
“Today, it is not only the building that KiwiRail staff work in, but it has also become an important daily destination in the lives of many people in the wider Wellington area. Tranz Metro carries more than 11 million passengers on its services a year, and more than 40,000 people pass through the station on a daily basis during the week,” says KiwiRail’s Chief Executive Jim Quinn.
Over its 75 years, the station building has had some alterations – the biggest of which took place between 2003 and 2008 when the main station building was refurbished to house part of Victoria University. This work also included a seismic upgrade, restoration and refurbishment.
“By any standards, it is a wonderful public building and a focal point for the city. Today, as Metro rail grows in importance again for Wellington commuters, this building will continue to be an important hub for this city,” says Mr Quinn.