Christchurch's first station building, the first important station in the country, was built in 1863 for the opening of the initial part of the Christchurch-Lyttelton railway, which opened in its entirety in 1867. This building was replaced in 1877 by a fine neo-Gothic structure built in conjunction with the completion of the Canterbury railways' conversion to narrow (3' 6") gauge. This station served Christchurch for over 80 years, although discussion of a replacement began as early as 1914. Approval was given for a new station in 1936 and what basically became the present building was designed by 1938. Work did not begin until 1953 and the station did not open until 1960. The new station began business at the conclusion of the great passenger rail era and from the late 1960s witnessed the closure of a succession of suburban and local services. Now itself replaced by a new station at Addington, the former station was converted into a science teaching and display area, with office accommodation on upper floors and a cinema at the western end. It was demolished in 2012 as a result of the 2011 Christchurch earthquakes.