Melling Branch

The three kilometre Melling Branch was originally part of the main line to the Wairarapa. On 1 March 1954 it became a branch line when Upper Hutt and Wairarapa trains were diverted to the Hutt Valley deviation (via Taita). Also on this day the 1500V DC electrification was extended from Lower Hutt to Melling.

In 1954 the line had an extensive EMU service but by 1986 there were peak hour EMUs only. In 2004 off-peak weekday services were re-introduced.

On this page I compare steam timetables with later electric timetables and also show how the Melling area has changed out of aall recognition in the past sixty years.

Notice at Melling Station. ( 19/8/2004).




End of the Line

Melling stop block

End of the line. The 2.999km point has been the end of the line since 1954. In this 2006 view SH2 is on the right and behind the camera is the signallised Melling intersection.The Lower Hutt CBD is a short walk over the 1957 Melling Bridge (out of sight, left), but otherwise this is not a pedestrian friendly location. A major road interchange is planned here.




Station Names

Melling sign

Melling Station. As far as I am aware the station at this location has always been known as Melling. Quail (1985 edition) does not show any other names for this site.

Over the years there have been several variations: Melling's, Melling Settlement, Melling Siding.

The Dominion for 19th Feb 1915 reports that residents had asked for the station be renamed "Central Hutt" or some other suitable designation.

Western Hutt sign

Lower Hutt Station. From about 1989 Lower Hutt Station has been known as Western Hutt to avoid confusion with WATERLOO INTERCHANGE (Hutt Central Stn) on the Hutt Valley Line. The name Western Hutt has been used consistantly in public timetables since then.

Draft Signalling & Interlocking circular 3042, issued when Petone was re-signalled in 2013, calls the station Lower Hutt with a note that the GWRC designation is Western Hutt.

Photo taken in 2004. In 2014 the sign is in Metlink green.

Waterloo sign

Waterloo Station This station is not on the Melling Branch. It is Waterloo - renamed Hutt Central about 1989. Timetables from 1989 to 1995 (including the 2000 reprint) all use variations of WATERLOO INTERCHANGE (Hutt Central Stn) to describe the station.

In the 2001 timetable common sense prevailed and it was simply referred to as Waterloo.

In 2014 the signs on the platform call it Hutt Central but PIDs on trains use Waterloo.

Photo taken in 2004. In 2014 the sign is in Metlink green.




Western Hutt Road (SH2)

The MellIng Branch railway is dominated by the four-lane Western Hutt Road (State Highway 2) which runs along its western side. The Petone railway-crossing to Normandale railway-crossing section was opened in 1940. The Petone crossing was replaced with an overbridge in the 1950s and the Normandale crossing by a bridge in the 1970s(?).

In the late 1960s/early 1970s the road from Silverstream to Petone was upgraded to four-lanes. This obliterated what remained of the Melling - Haywards railway formation and involved large cuts into the hillside south of Melling.

1905. The 1905 Troup designed Lower Hutt Station with its impressive verandah. I wish that today's designers of railway stations and bus stops knew how to provide weather protection.

1940. In 1940 this section of the Western Hutt Road was opened, running approximately on the alignment of the south bound lanes (closest to the railway).

Prior to this the land was occupied by the Lower Hutt yard and signalbox.

1960s/early 1970s. The hillside was cut away to form the north bound lanes (closest to the camera) of what is now State Highway 2.

Photo taken in 2013.

Lower Hutt station

The Melling Branch between Lower Hutt Station and the Normandale overbridge. This section of railway has always been single track.

This section of the Western Hutt Road (SH2) road was opened in 1940 as a two lane road. In the late 1960s/early1970s the hillside was cut back to allow the construction of four lanes.

The photo was taken from the Normandale overbridge which was built in the early 1970s(?) to replace a railway crossing.

Photo taken in 2005.

Melling Branch

Melling Intersection. West of Melling Station is the four lane SH2. North of the station is a complicated signalised intersection providing access to the Melling Bridge (not visible, on the right) and western hills suburbs (left). The Melling Bridge was opened in 1957.

The pre-1954 Melling Station was north of the intersection.

The commuter car park is to the east of the station (far right).

I wonder if the planners in the 1950s realised what a pedestrian unfriendly area this would become?

Photo taken in 2013 as the sun rose over the Hutt Valley.




APPROXIMATE Locations of Bridges and Stations

The Melling area has changed out of all recognition in the past sixty years. The information in this map is APPROXIMATE only and is intended to show the relative locations of the various items of infrastructure. A 1950 aerial photo of the area and a 1910 image of the suspension bridge   can be viewed on the National Library site.

Melling map



Interesting Snippets

Here are some interesting snippets of information, most found while trawling Papers Past.

Opened for Passengers The Rail Heritage Trust of New Zealand document Dates_and_names.pdf states that Melling was opened for passengers on 11/1903.

Scheduled Trains. From the 1st of June 1908 three trains per day were scheduled to stop at Melling. These were the first trains scheduled to stop. Melling was a "halt" rather than a station.

Melling bridge. The Melling suspension bridge was opened on the 22nd of February 1909. Residents at the northern end of Lower Hutt travelling to Wellington could now walk to Melling Station rather than to Lower Hutt Station.

Concerns of Residents. This letter to the editor of the Evening Post of 22nd June 1909 is typical of concerns expressed by residents during this period:

TO THE EDITOR, Sir, I observe from your issue of yesterday, in regard to the question of providing a shelter at Melling, that the Railway Department considers that "it was never contemplated that a "halt" at that place carried with it the necessity of building a shelter. The development of all such places is closely watched, and when the traffic is seen to have assumed sufficient proportions" to justify such a step, further facilities and conveniences are provided. At present the department has not had sufficient opportunity of watching the development of the traffic to justify it in going to the expense of making Melling anything more than a "halt".

In reply, let me point out that the Melling settlement is the most thickly populated part of the Hutt Valley, and that at present most of the residents have to tramp two miles to the Lower Hutt station. If the Railway Department would give instructions for the train which leaves Lower Hutt at about 8.35 a.m. to stop at Melling on its way from Upper Hutt, and that the 5.10 and 5.28 p.m. trains from Wellington should also stop at Melling, they would very soon find that the traffic is sufficient to warrant the "halts" as well as the erection of a shelter. Melling is right in the heart of the Hutt, whereas Lower Hutt station is at one end of the Hutt, and is most inconvenient for the majority of the residents. If the opportunities for entraining at Melling are not given to all classes, the traffic, of course, never will assume sufficient proportions to justify stoppages and a shelter. But let the Railway Department provide the facilities first, and depend upon it, the traffic will be there. We have waited long enough for the department to take steps in this matter, and we hope that something will be done in the desired direction, if only the "halts" above referred to are made, before the winter is over, otherwise we shall be compelled to trouble the Minister with a monster deputation. I am, etc., ANOTHER CORRESPONDENT. Melling, 22nd June.


Melling A Station. The Evening Post for 20th March 1911 reported that the Minister of Railways told a deputation asking that the 7:02 a.m.and 1:10 p.m. trains from Te Aro stop at Melling that "Melling had only been a station for twelve months. However, he would go into the matter".

Station Followed Bridge. A correspondant in the Evening Post of 17th February 1915 wrote

It is interesting to learn from & local in to-night's Post that people who use Melling station are bestiring themselves to get better treatment from the Railway Department. This station followed the erection of Melling bridge, which should be a feeder for railway traffic at this point, but no encouragement is given by the Department to use this station, and unimportant flag stations on the same line, with not one tenth of the traffic available at Melling, are actually granted much better train facilities. The Hutt Valley service generally beyond Lower Hutt is badly arranged.

Shelter. From the Evening Post of 12th March 1918. Note that a report the following day used the phrase "larger shelter" so it is not clear if there was any shelter at this time:

Several Melling residents/headed by Mr. J. E. Lovien, waited upon the council, and asked for its support to have certain urgent works at Melling carried out. Mr J. E. Lovien stated that the road from the bridge to the station was in a very bad condition. When it rained the road was just a sheet of water, and it was impossible to get to the station without getting the feet wet. Over 160 passengers boarded the train at the Melling Station, and it was necessary to have this work done before winter. Further, a shelter shed-was an urgent necessity at the station. He urged the council to support the residents of Melling. The Mayor told the deputation that the matter was brought under the notice of the Minister of Railways about two years ago and nothing had been done.

Platform. From Evening Post 19th April 1938:

The Department has formed a path at rail level at the eastern side of the crossing to give access to the road leading to the Melling Bridge and the V.I.C. The purpose of this improvement was to enable passengers to alight from trains and leave the station without having to cross the line when trains are arriving or departing from either the main line or the loop.

The platform at Melling accommodates seven cars. Sometimes the 5.16 p.m. train from Wellington, with twelve cars on, pulls up with the engine on.the road crossing at the north end of Melling Station. The inconvenience for passengers alighting there from the front car is known to the passengers who are regular travellers by this train, and they are aware that by travelling in the more central cars, which always stop opposite the platform, they may alight in comfort.

At Melling it is not possible to do away with the cattlestops (which have footplanks across them), but these should not be used by passengers, as other means of access have been provided for them.


New Station. In 1954 the line was truncated at Melling. A new station was built to the south of the original station and the Melling Branch electrified.




Melling - Wellington Passenger Trains: Departure Time From Melling

Note: All times are from public timetables unless otherwise noted.
Each time in the following tables is the departure time of a Melling - Wellington passenger train.

Monday - Friday

The 1911 times are from the Hutt Valley Independant 23rd December 1911. Eight down passenger trains departed Upper Hutt and twenty two from Lower Hutt.

In 1949 most trains originated from Upper Hutt. I do not have details of where trains originated from in 1949 but note that the 1947 Working Timetable there are two return Wellington - Melling trains - departing Melling at 07:55 and 17:43.

The peak hours only timetable appears to have been introduced about 1986. In February 1985 there was an hourly off-peak service. By October 1986 the service was peak hours only. See also Cityline letter.

1911 1949 1954 1971 1980 1985 2001
Steam Steam Electric Electric Electric Electric Electric
06:56 07:01 07:05 06:58 06:58 06:55 06:47
..           07:12
.. 07:22 07:26 07:28 07:35 07:25 07:38
08:06 07:54 07:50 07:54 07:55 07:57 08:03
.. 08:28 08:15 08:15 08:20 08:25 08:27
..   08:45 08:45 08:45 08:55 08:52
.. 09:16 09:15       09:17
..   09:45 09:45 09:45 09:55  
.. 10:21 10:15        
..   10:45 10:47 10:47 10:55  
..   11:15        
..   11:57 11:57 11:57 11:55  
..   12:15        
..   12:45 12:45 12:45 12:55  
13:21 13:24 13:18        
..   13:45 13:45 13:45 13:55  
..   14:15        
..   14:45 14:45 14:45 14:55  
..   15:15        
.. 15:55 15:47 15:47 15:57 15:55 15:51
.. 16:28 16:15 16:15 16:15 16:25 16:15
.. 16:55 16:40 16:44 16:44 16:55 16:44
..   17:02 17:02 17:02 17:14 17:06
17:14   17:30 17:32 17:32 17:32 17:33
.. 17:43 17:55 17:52   17:55 17:55
..   18:20 18:20 18:24 18:27 18:27
.. 19:02 18:58 18:55 18:55 18:58  
..   19:17 19:18 19:18 19:27  
..   19:45 19:45 19:45    
..   20:15     20:25  
..   20:45 20:45 20:45    
..   21:15 21:45 21:45    
..   21:45        
.. 22:31 22:15        
..   22:45        
..   23:15        
..   23:45        

Saturday

No Saturday service since 1980. In 1980 a Saturdays only shuttle was run between Petone and Melling. The shuttle probably ran for only a few months.

1911

1949 1954 1971

Steam

Steam Electric Electric
06:56 07:11 07:15 07:15
08:06   08:00 08:00
.. 08:59 09:00  
..   10:15 10:15
..   11:15 11:15
..   12:10 12:35
..   12:45  
13:21 13:24    
..   13:45 13:45
..   14:45 14:45
.. 15:55 15:45 15:45
17:14 16:30 16:45 16:55
17:32 17:41 17:45 17:47
.. 19:02   19:00
..     16:45
..   21:00  
..   22:30  
..   23:15  
23:41 To LHT     23:45

(Above) Cut of 1986 public timetable.

Sunday

No Sunday service since the 1980s. I am not sure of the exact year when Sunday services ceased. Note that by 1971 there were only two return Wellington - Melling Sunday services.

1949 1954 1971
Steam Electric Electric
  00:07  
  08:12  
  09:07  
  10:02  
  11:02  
  12:47  
13:31 13:50 13:50
  14:25  
  15:20  
16:15    
  16:30 16:37
17:21    
  17:45  
  18:45  
20:11    
  20:25  
  21:30  
  22:40  
  23:30  

(Above) Cut of 2001 public timetable.





1980 Saturday Shuttle

In 1954, when electrification was introduced, there were fifteen return Melling services on a Saturday and sixteen on a Sunday. In 1971 there were thirteen Saturday and just two Sunday return services.

By 1980 a Saturday Petone - Melling shuttle had been introduced and Sunday services had ceased. As far as I can recall this shuttle lasted only a few months. Finally, all Saturday services on the Melling Line were withdrawn. Here is the schedule for the shuttle from the 8 June 1980 public timetable. Operating these shuttles must be a contender for the most boring job on the railway!

Wellington (Dep) 10:04            
Petone (Dep) 10:18 11:18 12:30 13:20 14:20 15:20 16:10
Melling (arr) 10:24 11:24 12:36 13:26 14:26 15:26 16:16
Melling (dep) 10:40 11:28 12:39 13:30 14:34 15:34 16:25
Petone (arr) 10:46 11:34 12:45 13:36 14:40 15:40 16:31
Wellington (arr)             16:45



August 2004 Monday - Friday Timetable

In August 2004 a new Wellington timetable was introduced. The change was forced by a shortage of drivers and the need, during the afternoon peak, to get the drivers back to Wellington as soon as possible. An incidental change was the introduction of weekday off-peak Melling - Wellington services, the first since about 1986.

Arrive At Melling From Wellington

Depart From Melling For Wellington

06:41 06:47
07:07 07:12
07:34 07:38
07:55 08:03
08:22 08:27
08:47 08:52
09:11 09:17
09:30 09:32
10:30 10:32
11:30 11:32
12:30 12:32
13:30 13:32
14:30 14:32
15:30 15:32
16:10 16:12
16:49 16:52
17:10 17:12
17:30 17:32
17:49 17:52
18:10 18:12
18:30 18:32



October 2004 Monday - Friday Timetable

In October 2004 minor changes were made to Melling - Wellington services to improve timekeeping. The changes were advertised in posters displayed at stations.

Arrive At Melling From Wellington

Depart From Melling For Wellington

06:41 06:47
07:07 07:12
07:34 07:38
07:55 08:03
08:22 08:27
08:47 08:52
09:11 09:14
09:26 09:29
10:26 10:29
11:26 11:29
12:26 12:29
13:26 13:29
14:26 14:29
15:26 15:29
16:06 16:08
16:45 16:48
17:06 17:08
17:26 17:28
17:45 17:48
18:06 18:08
18:26 18:28



September 2008 Monday - Friday Timetable

In September 2008 a new Wellington timetable was introduced. The times of off-peak Melling services were changed so that the trains did not run immediately behind Upper Hutt services. There were also minor adjustments to afternoon peak times.

Arrive At Melling From Wellington

Depart From Melling For Wellington

06:41 06:47
07:07 07:12
07:34 07:38
07:55 08:03
08:22 08:27
08:47 08:52
09:11 09:14
09:36 09:39
10:36 10:39
11:36 11:39
12:36 12:39
13:36 13:39
14:36 14:39
15:36 15:39
16:06 16:08
16:45 16:48
17:06 17:08
17:26 17:28
17:45 17:48
18:06 18:08
18:26 18:28



February 2011 Monday - Friday

In February 2011 the Wellington timetable was changed. The times of up Melling off-peak services were adjusted because in the 2008 timetable they were allocated 14 minutes from Wellington to Petone rather than the 12 minutes required. As a result most up Melling services arrived at and departed from Petone several minutes early. There was an increase in number of return services from 21 to 23 per day.

Arrive At Melling From Wellington

Depart From Melling For Wellington

06:30 06:35
07:11 07:16
07:29 07:33
07:46 07:54
08:09 08:14
08:29 08:34
08:56 09:01
09:16 09:31
09:45 09:49
10:35 10:39
11:35 11:39
12:35 12:39
13:35 13:39
14:35 14:39
15:43 15:49
16:03 16:08
16:21 16:25
16:37 16:45
16:57 17:04
17:17 17:23
17:36 17:40
17:55 18:00
18:25 18:30



More Information

Click an image for more information....

Photograph Gallery. Photographs taken on the Melling Branch in 2004.

Blue English Electric EMU at Melling in August 2001.


Signalling History:

Hutt Valley Junction

Lower Hutt

Melling




Notes

  • Under steam operation the Melling - Wellington journey time was 23 minutes. Today off-peak EMUs take 19 minutes for the journey.
  • Automatic signalling was removed from the Branch in 1996. A track occupancy light was fitted on the Petone panel. Its status depended on the position of 48 points (the Up Main to Down Main crossover) and the occupation of various track circuits at the junction. At Christmas 2013 Petone, including the Melling Branch, was re-signalled and the Branch is once again fully signalled. See my Petone Signal Box site for more information.
  • The very last scheduled service operated by an English Electric EMU was the 1417 Melling - Wellington service on 25th June 2012. For more information download my Last EE Dates document.
  • A light rail system has been suggested from Melling, across the Hutt River to the Lower Hutt commercial area. From here it would run to Waterloo. Given the size of the investment required and the fact that the Hutt's population numbers are declining, it is hard to see such a scheme ever proceeding.



Last Updated: Wed 29th Jan 2014

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