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(Todd DeFeo/The DeFeo Groupe)

The Northern Explorer passenger train prepares to depart Auckland, New Zealand, in December 2017. (Todd DeFeo/The DeFeo Groupe)

(Todd DeFeo/The DeFeo Groupe)

The Auckland Railway Station on Beach Road, Auckland's former main railway station, opened in 1930. (Todd DeFeo/The DeFeo Groupe)

The Auckland Railway Station on Beach Road, the former main railway station in Auckland, opened in 1930. (Todd DeFeo/The DeFeo Groupe)

(Todd DeFeo/The DeFeo Groupe)

The Northern Explorer passenger train prepares to depart Auckland, New Zealand, in December 2017. (Todd DeFeo/The DeFeo Groupe)

(Todd DeFeo/The DeFeo Groupe)

The Northern Explorer passenger train prepares to depart Auckland, New Zealand, in December 2017. (Todd DeFeo/The DeFeo Groupe)

The Auckland Railway Station on Beach Road, Auckland's former main railway station, opened in 1930. (Todd DeFeo/The DeFeo Groupe)

AUCKLAND, New Zealand — Auckland’s rail history dates to 1863, when the Provincial Council began building a line connecting Auckland and Drury, including a branch to Onehunga.

While the line had some other purposes, it was built with a connection to Wellington in mind. However, it wasn’t until 1872, when a contract to build the Auckland-to-Mercer line was let, that Auckland’s rail history began in earnest.

A contract for Auckland’s first train station dates to September 1872, and the building opened in 1873. On November 30, 1885, it moved west to Queen Street near the modern Britomart Transport Centre or Waitematā railway station.

The North Island Main Trunk line connecting Auckland and Wellington opened in November 1908. Such a connection had been discussed since the 1860s.

The newer Auckland Railway Station, the city’s third station, opened on reclaimed land on Beach Road in November 1930. Its location, further away from the city’s main business center, was criticized from the start.

The station remained in operation until July 2003, when the Britomart Transport Centre (subsequently renamed Waitematā railway station) opened. In August 2011, platforms six and seven (and later three and four) were partially rebuilt as platforms one and two.

Today, the station, known as The Strand, hosts the Auckland-to-Wellington Northern Explorer passenger train.

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