Because it is easier just to keep them there I am planning that I will just put captions onto these photos and geotag them so that you can look at them in the albums rather than digging them out into blog posts. This post will be updated when this has been done.
I’ll also write some brief notes about the demolition of the shops after closure. The actual date that the shops closed is somewhat uncertain with some sources saying 1991 and others 1992. However I do remember when the announcement of its closure was made and that was December 1990 just after the General Election, the announcement rather obviously was held over by the Labour government of the time for political reasons.
From that time on I remember various stages of demolition. Some old locomotives were taken to the shops site for storage and later demolition, particularly old DSAs and DJs. Sometime in 1992 I remember going in to see that J 1211 was stored in the site on a siding, and there was also a 40 ton steam crane therein. I also remember the social hall being knocked down, as it was a well known building right on the outside boundary on Lowe Street. Unfortunately I have very few photos of the Shops as a whole (whether open or closed) because film was expensive.
The old railcar shed or some other building at the northeast corner was for a time used to store bulk toilet paper until it burned down. I think in a previous post I suggested the joinery shop might have been the building used for this purpose.
One thing I didn’t see anything of was the demolition of Plant Zone or the signals depot directly opposite. Likewise the Addington North or South yards. It wasn’t until 2003 that I was making much effort to take any photos at all around these areas when I first had access to a digital camera. Hence practically all of my collection of photos dates from that time.
What shows up on aerial photos and old plans (not the ones I have put onto my maps) is that there were pockets of railway housing dotted around the workshops. I will have to try and find aerials of the site to determine exactly where but I believe there was quite a lot on the west side of Clarence Street in particular and probably heading down to the north side of Bell Street. Both this street and another residential part, Margaret Street, have long since disappeared.
The main workshops and adjoining sites stayed vacant for more than 10 years. It was really not until the Ngai Tahu compensation settlement was concluded in the late 1990s that any development was taken seriously. That included the part that the council bought for the Blenheim Road deviation. There was much criticism of the fact that the land had to be purchased at commercial price from Ngai Tahu when the Crown had sold it at a much lower price some months earlier to the iwi. However it appears unlikely the Council had any choice as Ngai Tahu had first right of refusal on Crown land under the terms of their settlement. It was some time after 2000 that the first proposals for Tower Junction, as the development was called, came to public notice. The Bunnings store was the first part built on and the plantzone site, the last. The old wheel lathe building in the triangle opposite the station, the last of the workshops buildings, was knocked down around 2003/4 and the site was developed for Turners Auctions. Later on Detroit Place was built on the Main South Line boundary for access to Turners. The old Way & Works site was used as access to Detroit Place while it was under construction, after the buildings had been knocked down. The road deviation was built during 2005 and the previous overbridge demolished early the following year.
At the time of writing not all of the former Addington Curve land has been developed at all with only the part occupied by the Detroit Place car dealerships and Blenheim Road deviation built over. However the Addington North yard where a couple of the old tracks until relatively recently still curved up and stopped at the fence, has now largely been torn up and redeveloped as carpark, in part I believe as compensation for land and parks taken off the front when the deviation was built. There used to be access off Moorhouse Ave to the Addington Signalbox. I am not sure if this is still the case or whether alternative access has been developed since.