KiwiRail has backed down in a stoush over the seismic status of Wellington's railway station, after initially removing earthquake-prone signs from the building without approval.
The heritage building was deemed earthquake-prone in 2014 and is rated at just 20 per cent of the New Building Standard.
Wellington City Council, the regulator, has always maintained the building is earthquake-prone.
But KiwiRail has previously challenged this, based on advice from independent engineers, and took matters into its own hands.
It removed earthquake-prone building signs at the station, prompting accusations the state-owned enterprise was "flouting the rules".
A person who willfully removes or defaces these signs is liable for a fine of up to $5000, although the council didn't resort to that in this case as KiwiRail eventually put the signs back up in 2019.
KiwiRail capital projects and asset development chief operating officer David Gordon confirmed this week they were now proceeding on the basis the building was earthquake-prone and required remedial work.
KiwiRail has strengthened the building several times including after the Seddon and Kaikōura earthquakes, but the council has insisted there are still vulnerabilities in the building that need to be brought up to scratch.
Gordon said strengthening will begin from the end of next year and be completed by the March 2024 deadline.
It is expected the remaining seismic work will cost about $5 million.
Strengthening was not expected to disrupt passengers or services, Gordon said.
"There will be access to the building when the remaining seismic work is undertaken. While there will be localised areas with restricted access around the physical work being undertaken, this will be kept to a minimum.
"Most of the work will be done after hours so there will be no interruption to the public while it is carried out."
Greater Wellington Regional Council manages the region's public transport network.
More than 30,000 passengers move through the Wellington railway station every day.
Regional council chairman Daran Ponter welcomed KiwiRail's decision.
"I think it's positive that KiwRail has actually accepted responsibility to ensure a building, that is effectively a public building, is up to standard.
It was just a matter of time before the next big earthquake happened, Ponter said.
"So we have to do everything we can to make sure people can go about their daily lives using the public transport network safely."
Acting Wellington City Council chief infrastructure officer Mike Mendonca said he was aware of several structural and non-structural vulnerabilities in the building that needed to be addressed.
"This is clearly a really important building for Wellingtonians so we're very supportive of the direction KiwiRail appears to be taking."
Mendonca said there are about 560 earthquake-prone buildings in Wellington and every one the council could cross off the list was a good thing.
"The city is going in the right direction as painful and expensive as it is, we're happy with progress."