Auckland's newest railway station is barely visible to passing motorists, but it has four entrances to maximise its accessibility to train passengers.
Grafton Station, tucked into a railway trench between Khyber Pass and Park roads at the western end of Newmarket, will be opened by Transport Minister Steven Joyce today, and trains will stop there from Sunday.
It has entrances on each side of both main roads, so passengers - including students of Auckland Grammar and St Peters - will be able to reach it without having to wait for gaps in the busy traffic above.
Bus stops next to a road-level concourse at the main entrance to the station, on Park Rd, will also enable easy transfers between trains and Auckland City's Central Connector bus corridor, which runs past the hospital, across Grafton Bridge and down Symonds St.
The Auckland Regional Transport Authority built the new station for $3 million as part of a $154 million redevelopment with KiwiRail of the rail network through Newmarket.
The station has a 180m "island" platform sandwiched between two sets of tracks, following duplication of all but about 3km of the 23.5km western line between Newmarket and Swanson.
That final link, between Avondale and Titirangi Rd in New Lynn, will be duplicated by June - hopefully ending the woes of western passengers whose trains were more than five minutes late on 64 per cent of services in January and 53 per cent in February.
Each station entrance has a set of stairs down to the platform, and the Park Rd concourse also has a passenger lift.
KiwiRail had to make major excavations and build extensive retaining walls to widen the railway corridor from 5m to 13m to fit the duplicate tracks.
Two replacement road bridges over the station have been built with enough clearance above the railway line for power-supply wires for Auckland's new electric trains, due to arrive in 2013.
Although the new station is only about 200m east of the old Boston Rd train stop, which it has replaced, the transport authority believes that placing it closer to the hospital and the Domain will attract many morepassengers.
Its completion marks the end of the Newmarket rail upgrade. It will be followed by the opening this year of new stations at Avondale, New Lynn and Onehunga as well as an upgrade of Kingsland Station to accommodate Rugby World Cup spectators.