Built over 70 years ago beside the main-trunk railway in the valley below Parnell Road and the Domain -as a diesel workshop for the new trains, the site and buildings fell to disrepair after the workshops were re-sited. Mainline Steam, a trust set up to salvage and repair heritage trains for the longterm benefits of NZer's , took up a lease in the workshops and yards, and encourage voluntary workers to assist in the painstaking projects of restoration. Being close to the city centre and on the main trunk line, this is a unique position for a tourist venture.
MLST's brief is to develop their leased buildings into a working museum, educational and conference centre with supporting facilities –café etc –to be financially sustainable. The site is now destined for the new Parnell Railway Station, expected to become the 5th busiest station in Auckland. The site is also steeped in history. However, with Kiwi Rail selling the site to Auckland Transport on a proposed cleared site, MLST have been told to go.
Our role encompassed assessing the widest site parameters and development options and, master planning a conceptual proposal to maximise development while retaining the MLST buildings as the catalyst for the new project. The exercise has shown that there are many opportunities to retain MLST and get a good return from the balance of the developed site.