Plimmerton Station

This page outlines the history and description of the Plimmerton station, Porirua.

Plimmerton Station circa 1890.
Plimmerton Station ca. 1890. Plimmerton House prominent on the left.
Porirua Museum ref. 48/17, NZR E871
See also ATL image “Overlooking Plimmerton ca. 1910, ref. 1/2-073672-G.

History of the stations at Plimmerton

This is the second railway station to have served Plimmerton. The first station, a simple three-room building with a monoslope roof, was built on the seaward side of the tracks in 1885 by the Wellington and Manawatu Railway Company (W&MRC). In that year the W&MRC began a weekend train service from Wellington to Plimmerton that helped establish the area as a beach resort. It proved very popular and the Company later built an accommodation house and refreshment rooms alongside the station. This was burnt down in a fire about 1907 (note there are varying dates i.e. 1905-1910 for this fire). Steyne Avenue appears to have been constructed sometime after the fire and the road was put through where Plimmer House and the first railway station were located. The original station building may have been relocated to the other side of the track at this stage (to a position) more or less in the same vicinity as where the current building is located.

The station (and new beachside settlement) was named after John Plimmer, a W&MRC company director. The railway was a vitally important factor in the early growth of Plimmerton as it facilitated both easy access to the coast, and the delivery of construction materials from Wellington.

The original single-track railway line was duplicated through Plimmerton in the late 1930s and this led to some changes along the line, including the replacement of several stations to better serve the new double tracks. A plan was approved by New Zealand Railways to replace the original station with a new “island” type, to be located between the double tracks, in 1939 and work started in that year. The building was in use by February 1940, but was not fully completed until September that year when the old station was demolished.

The station remains in constant and heavy commuter use; the building is presently closed to the public, but remains in rail use for signal control purposes, via the signal panel enclosed in the main building.

Description of the present Plimmerton station

The station is an “island” type, with the two rail tracks passing on either side of the long platform and the building in the middle of the tracks. The north end of the platform is accessed through a short subway that connects through to both Steyne Avenue and the Plimmerton Domain. The south end of the platform can be reached from the level crossing between Steyne Avenue and State Highway 1.

The rail yard area to the east is used by Mainline Steam (a train restoration group) and includes a relocated water-tower and a modern locomotive turntable – although this doesn’t contribute to the station’s authenticity, this helps create a strong impression of the area’s railway purpose and its long history of railway use.

Completed in 1940, the station building is constructed to a standard plan, one originated by railway architect George Troup in the early 1900s (while Troup retired from the railways in 1925, the standard floor plans were built for many years after his departure). It is centred on the platform and has a long rectangular layout, one room wide, which contained (from south to north) men’s and ladies’ toilets, ladies’ waiting room, bookstall, general waiting room, office and booking office and a store room. The small rectangular out-building on the platform to the north of the station once housed an emergency signal panel (there is a second out-building to the south).

The present Plimmerton station.
The present Plimmerton station.
Photo – Russell Murray, 2007.

The building is covered with a distinctive shallow-pitched corrugated iron roof, half-hipped at either end over the width of the building, and with a gabled blind dormer halfway along each long elevation. The pitch of the roof extends out to the platform edge to form a cantilevered verandah on both sides, supported by bent and welded 70lb rail brackets. Of the surviving old stations in the Wellington region, only the Tawa station shares the same roof form.

The exterior of the building is finished with bevel-backed weatherboards and timber joinery (mostly double-hung windows).

See also the 'Plimmerton Station Heritage Site' page, and the Plimmerton Village Programme page for news of the re-opening of the Railway Station in October 2010 after restoration.

Return to the 'Porirua's Rail Heritage' page or continue to the 'Pukerua Bay Station' page.