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Palmerston North railway station facts for kids

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Palmerston North
Palmerston North railway station platform.JPG
An electric EF class backing onto the Overlander at Palmerston North Railway Station, 2007.
Location Matthews Avenue, Palmerston North
New Zealand
Coordinates 40°20′40″S 175°35′40″E / 40.3444°S 175.5944°E / -40.3444; 175.5944Coordinates: 40°20′40″S 175°35′40″E / 40.3444°S 175.5944°E / -40.3444; 175.5944
Elevation 30 m (98 ft)
Owned by KiwiRail
Line(s) North Island Main Trunk
Distance Wellington 136.23 km (84.65 mi)
Platforms 1 side platform
Tracks 1
Connections Napier & Gisborne line (goods only)
Parking Yes
Bicycle facilities Yes
Opened 20 October 1876; 144 years ago (1876-10-20)
Rebuilt 1891, 1963
Electrified 25 kV 50 Hz AC
Preceding station   The Great Journeys of New Zealand   Following station
Northern Explorer
toward Wellington
Terminus Capital Connection
toward Wellington
Preceding station   Historical railways   Following station
Terminus   Palmerston North–Gisborne Line
Line open,
station closed
8.75 km (5.44 mi)
Line open,
station closed
8.52 km (5.29 mi)
  North Island Main Trunk
Line open,
station closed
6.29 km (3.91 mi)

Palmerston North railway station is a main station on the North Island Main Trunk serving the city of Palmerston North in the Manawatū-Whanganui region of New Zealand.

It is the northern terminus of the Capital Connection long distance commuter train to Wellington and a major stop on the Northern Explorer service between Auckland and Wellington.

With the discontinuation of the Overlander and the introduction of its replacement the Northern Explorer, several stops on the Overlander were discontinued; including Levin and Feilding. Palmerston North is now the nearest station for these locations.

The Palmerston North (regional) rail freight hub is to be built by KiwiRail near Palmerston North, with a grant of $40 million from the Provincial Growth Fund, as announced by the minister Shane Jones on 15 November 2018. It will replace the Tremaine Avenue freight yard, which is to the east of the station and provides mainly for freight to Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin.

History and the Milson Deviation

The original station was opened on 20 October 1876; see Palmerston North Central railway station. Traffic increased with the opening of the line to Napier via Woodville in 1891, and the station was moved 30 chains (603m) south in March 1891. But it was still a bottleneck, and remained the longest-persisting bottleneck on the Main Trunk until the 1960s. Changes were recommended by Hiley in 1914, a commission in 1916 and the Fay-Raven commission in 1924–25. Construction of the Milson Deviation to shift the line and station northwest and away from the centre of Palmerston North started in May 1926, but was delayed by the depression and World War II, and objections from the local business quarter; when work was suspended in April 1929, the reasons given by Prime Minister, Sir Joseph Ward, included the distance of the new station from the town centre. Work by the Public Works Department (PWD) was stopped in 1929 by Minister of Works Alfred Ransom and restarted in 1938 by Bob Semple but halted by the war. Finally resumed in 1957 under John McAlpine, the first stage to Milson from the north-east was opened on 22 April 1954. The deviation was opened to Longburn for through goods trains on 27 July 1959. On 21 October 1963 the new station and yards were opened, and all rail traffic removed from the main street and square of Palmerston North. The old line was closed by mid-1965, and the Awapuni railway station south of the main station on the old route was also closed.The new route was 1 mi 4 ch (1.7 km) shorter than the old.

Chart of Palmerston North railway station passengers 1881-1950
tickets sales 1881–1950 – derived from annual returns to Parliament of "Statement of Revenue for each Station for the Year ended"

Current Use

The station currently serves two routes - the Capital Connection and the Northern Explorer. These two services see the station visited by 1 or 2 trains per weekday - down from >60 when the station was opened. Heritage excursions also occasionally use the station. The main building is used as KiwiRail offices or storage, and the old cafeteria is used as a after-school care centre. The station is not served by a city bus route but has a taxi rank.


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