Waterfall gets nod for station upgrade

WATERFALL railway station is to be upgraded to improve passenger access.

The upgrade is expected to include a new lift, toilets with better access, footpath improvements, platform roofing canopies and CCTV cameras.

"This will not only benefit local customers who use Waterfall station, but also those commuters from the Illawarra region who travel in their cars and use the interchange," Transport Minister Gladys Berejiklian said.

Public consultation will be conducted to find out what station users want.

A spokeswoman for the department, Transport for NSW, said the works would start late this year or early 2014, and were expected to take two years from then to complete. The cost of the project will not be released until the tender is awarded.

News of the upgrade will be welcomed by many commuters, particularly from Wollongong's northern suburbs, who drive to Waterfall then catch the train to Sydney each day.

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But it is unlikely to please those still waiting for lifts to be installed at Unanderra station to improve disabled access.

The Unanderra upgrade was promised by the then Labor government in 2009, but the cost blew out to $16.5 million.

Works announced so far under the NSW government's $770 million Transport Access program, of which the Waterfall project is part, do not include Unanderra.

Mrs Berejiklian blamed the former Labor government for not delivering at Unanderra.

"The NSW government allocated more than $1 million to improvements at Unanderra and to fix up the mess Labor left there.

"Unanderra station will be considered for future [funding] rounds."

Labor Member for Shellharbour Anna Watson warned commuters not to get too excited about the Waterfall plan, as the works could be delayed.

"I would recommend that Waterfall commuters delve into the detail of what the NSW government is promising and make sure the minister and local MP are kept accountable for delivering the infrastructure they have promised on time and on budget," she said.

Member for Heathcote Lee Evans said the Waterfall works would help encourage more people to use public transport.

"This is fantastic news for the community who use Waterfall station, as it is a key station that provides the gateway into the Illawarra," he said.

Also likely to be included in the Waterfall upgrade are improved bike storage facilities, improvements to the drop-off and pick-up areas, and new signage.

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