PHOTOS: Unanderra's stairway to exhaustion

Darren Buchanan and wife Teresa  carry luggage at Unanderra train station. Picture: ADAM McLEAN

Darren Buchanan and wife Teresa carry luggage at Unanderra train station. Picture: ADAM McLEAN

It was your average morning at Unanderra train station.

It took just one hour for numerous commuters to illustrate how tough it is to simply catch a train when there is no lift at the station.

Senior citizens grasped the rail all the way up the flights of stairs, their hands going white with the effort; a couple had to carry a pram with one child up the stairs without losing track of another; and a husband came along just to lug his wife's heavy bag up the stairs and over to the platform.

It wasn't a set-up. These people just happened to be struggling to access the train network at Unanderra between 8.30am and 9.30am on Thursday.

Imagine how many others face the same battle.

The long-running calls for lifts at Unanderra station began again this week when the Mercury reported Transport Minister Gladys Berejiklian plans to announce the installation of lifts at a station on the border of her own electorate.

'Brilliant idea': Paola Trujillo would like to see lifts installed at Unanderra train station. Picture: ADAM McLEAN

'Brilliant idea': Paola Trujillo would like to see lifts installed at Unanderra train station. Picture: ADAM McLEAN

Paolo Trujillo travelled to Unanderra from Thirroul for staff training and she supported lifts being installed at the station.

"I think it's a brilliant idea," she said.

"My brother is a quadriplegic and if he ever wanted to come here, he'd have to be driven. He'd never get off that platform. It's not just for people in wheelchairs, it's for people with crutches who have a broken leg, it's for old people, for mums with prams. Accessibility is important for everybody."

Catching the train with a pram was the exact problem Warwick and Gemma Knowles had when they tried to catch the train to Sydney with Taylor, 4, and Alexis, 1.

Mr Knowles said it was hard to get both children up the stairs and down on to the platform.

"It's a lot easier when I'm here to help," he said.

Neighbours Beryl Bailey and Menchie Lowe walk over the bridge from their homes in Lake Heights to take Ms Lowe's son to the bus stop. The pair walk over the stairs and back every day and, while they enjoy the exercise, they agreed a lift would be beneficial.

What we saw

Darren  and Teresa  make the steep climb with their luggage. Picture: ADAM McLEAN

Darren and Teresa make the steep climb with their luggage. Picture: ADAM McLEAN

Teresa Buchanan had to get husband Darren to come to Unanderra station with her to carry her heavy bag up the stairs and down to the platform.

‘‘We would love a lift,’’ Mr Buchanan said.

‘‘We have elderly parents who use the train to come down and visit but they have to get off at Dapto because they can’t get up and down the stairs here.’’

In fact, Mrs Buchanan said she thought about catching the train on Thursday from Dapto rather than Unanderra because of her bag but felt she should be able to use her local station rather than have to travel to the next suburb.

Warwick  Knowles with wife Gemma and children Alexis (in pram) and Taylor. Pictures: ADAM McLEAN

Warwick Knowles with wife Gemma and children Alexis (in pram) and Taylor. Pictures: ADAM McLEAN

Warwick and Gemma Knowles were travelling with two children, one in a pram, forcing the couple to carry the pram while trying to keep hold of their four-year-old.

Mrs Knowles said she had managed on her own before, with one hand on the pram and the other holding Taylor.

She had also been caught at the bottom of the stairs with a friend who had twins in a pram and had to call her brother, who works nearby, to come and help carry the prams up.

Beryl Bailey and Menchie Lowe would like to see lifts installed at the station. Picture: ADAM McLEAN

Beryl Bailey and Menchie Lowe would like to see lifts installed at the station. Picture: ADAM McLEAN

Beryl Bailey and Menchie Lowe said the stairs were good exercise but thought a lift was needed.

‘‘I see people struggling to get up the stairs with walking sticks,’’ Ms Bailey said.

‘‘Then there’s those people racing to get to the train, they struggle to get to the top, too.’’

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