News from Regional Council
The Melling Station building has been closed temporarily as a safety precaution after testing found evidence of asbestos.
Wayne Hastie, the Regional Council’s General Manager of Public Transport, says the results showed positive for asbestos dust, not airborne asbestos. “So there’s no risk of people inhaling asbestos but we need to close the building until the building is cleaned thoroughly to remove the dust.”
The building would be cleaned as soon as possible then tested again.
Dr Hastie said the Melling Station building has a tenant who runs a kiosk and a ticket agency. Both have closed until further notice.
Melling commuters can buy tickets for single trips on board. Ten-trip tickets and monthly passes will need to be bought at Wellington Station. “As soon as we got the test results we had to take the necessary safety precautions and close the building. We apologise for the inconvenience to commuters. ”
Dr Hastie says the Council is currently testing all stations where asbestos might be present. In the 1950s and 60s when many stations were built, asbestos material was used in construction.
“This testing was scheduled as part of our comprehensive asset management programme but we’ve expedited it since finding asbestos in an old part of the Thorndon electric multiple unit depot after the roof was damaged in a storm. We decided it was best to test all of our buildings that are of a similar era sooner rather than later.”
Four other buildings at Upper Hutt, Trentham, Woburn and Taita stations showed evidence of asbestos dust. The areas in which the dust was found at Upper Hutt, Trentham and Woburn stations are all non-public access areas which have been sealed off and will be cleaned. The roof at Trentham Station has been replaced.
At Taita Station, asbestos dust was found to be present in the signal box which KiwiRail staff use at some times of the day. Staff are not working out of this signal box until the area has been cleaned thoroughly and retested. This will have implications for some services, including possible delays to some peak hour afternoon services between Taita and Upper Hutt.
“Passengers should allow for extra travel time. We’re exploring the possibility of making temporary changes to bus services that connect with trains at Upper Hutt Station. Passengers should check the Metlink website, www.metlink.org.nz for details over the next few days.