Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Christchurch Railway Station to be demolished

As regrettable as it may seem to some of us, Science Alive has announced that the former Christchurch Railway Station in Moorhouse Ave is too badly damaged to be repaired, and will be demolished. The announcement was made at the start of this month. This follows the demolition of the adjacent Hoyts 8 movie theatre.
I have created a special album to hold all my photos, past and present, of the station premises, and also added to it some aerials and general photos from the Alexander Turnbull Library collection. The demolition has not yet started but once it begins I can assure you, living quite close by, I expect to visit this site very regularly.
Duncan Winder photo of the east dock.
One of my photos of the east dock in 2003, which is the same today. The east dock was filled in and sealed over to form carparking. The pinkish building and the white section immediately behind it are new constructions by Science Alive and not part of the original station. The west dock area was built over by Hoyts 8 and no longer exists.
A Roy Sinclair photo of 1981, taken from the Colombo Street overbridge with numbered features: 1. Station building; 2. Signals location box; 3. Gas works; 4. Station footbridge; 5. Yardmaster’s office; 6. Freight train
2003 similar view down what was the main lines heading out of the yard to the west. A great many changes visible here. Pilgrim Place and the access road in the foreground following the railway line routes, with the current lines far right.
1980s view down the main platform from the footbridge. A passenger train having arrived. In the distance just above the signal gantries is what is now Harvey Normans’ retail premises while to its left can be seen B Shed, which later became the main goods shed for Christchurch until closed a few years ago. The signalbox for Christchurch yard can be seen at the top floor on the front of the station building.
Although from a different perspective and angle this is a very recent photo of the main platform. The top is now used for carparking in the main. The white building to the right was added by Science Alive and is not part of the railway premises. The signalbox still exists but is now used as part of someone’s office. The appearance of the clock tower has been altered by wood panelling added after the February 2011 earthquake to prevent the collapse of the unreinforced masonry brickwork.
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On the left we have a 2003 shot of the yardmaster’s office on the southern boundary.. It was the premises of Britten Engineering (of motorcycling fame) for a number of years after the Railways closed up. The much-altered building as it is today is seen in the right hand shot.
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2003 shot of the Railway Social Hall nearby at 154 Carlyle Street, next to Repcos. On the right we see its present day appearance and usage as commercial office space.
February 21 2012, Science Alive, Moorhouse Avenue.
Ross Becker’s aerial shot of the station taken recently. The old railway yards occupied what is now carpark to the right of the station in this photo. The original station design was quite symmetrical and alterations were clearly made at the west end to accommodate the Hoyts 8 movie theatre development of the mid 1990s. The light wells and skylights are original features of the premises, which apart from the changes at the west end and minor additions at the east end are mostly as built.
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Two segments of the former station footbridge sited at what is now Gasson Street crossing, are in use today on the cycleway alongside the Main North Line between Kilmarnock Street and Fendalton Road, one of them seen in the left hand photo. In the right hand photo, another segment is used as a footbridge in South Hagley Park. The cycleway segments have been altered to make them wider. The cycleway was built some 10 or more years ago and runs through to Papanui.
White’s Aviation aerial shot of the station and railway yards in 1962, soon after completion of the new building. Amongst the many changes today, the old footbridge at left opposite Madras Street was replaced by a modern concrete footbridge, which was demolished after the station closed. Gasson Street on the south side was then extended through the bridge site to join Madras Street and Moorhouse Ave. Much of the housing visible on the south side of the railway lines has gone now, replaced by industrial development in the area. Also visible at the south side are C and D sheds to the left and middle, and the old A shed to the right, which certainly had been gone a long time by the era in which the station became known to me.