Raahui Pookeka | Huntly Railway Station is open for business as usual.
That’s the message from Waikato District Council despite a fire that tore through the original 1939 heritage station building on the site.
As part of a wider restoration project, the historical building was in the process of being relocated back to the station a couple of weeks ago when half of the building was set alight in what police have deemed a ‘suspicious’ fire.
“The relocation of the building had been planned for months and the wider restoration project has been in the works for years. The fire was a huge blow for everyone involved,” says James Matenga, Waikato District Council’s Project Manager.
The station upgrade includes a new platform, security cameras, lighting, a park and ride service, taxi bays, passenger information display boards, and walking and cycling links.
The historical building was due to be home to a new museum showcasing the history of one of Aotearoa’s main mining areas and Waikato District Council is still committed to delivering the project.
“We have applied for external funding to be able to continue converting the building into a local museum. We are currently awaiting the outcome of this funding application before we outline our next steps,” James says.
While refurbishment will now take longer, the station is still fully operational and open for those travelling both locally and on the Te Huia service from the Waikato to Auckland.
“We are holding our heads high and moving on with our best foot forwards. The train services won’t be affected by the fire or the ongoing restoration project,” James says.
As the building is in the process of being assessed by insurance providers as well as structural engineers, Waikato District Council is waiting for further information before deciding how to proceed with the damaged section.
“A new timeline for the project will be set once we understand the extent of damage, which will be determined following the insurance process.”
Waikato District Council and the wider team are grateful for the support they have received following the fire.
“We want to especially thank the good people at Genesis Energy for their work both before and after the fire. They have been an integral part of the project and we look forward to continuing our close relationship with them moving forward.
“Additionally, we would like to thank the fire and emergency services who responded quickly to the scene and have made it possible to salvage some of the building.”