Transport NSW has confirmed the new $39-million railway station being built at Dunmore will be known as "Shellharbour Junction".
In a statement, Transport NSW said the decision was made following community feedback and approval of the name by the Geographical Names Board and Minister for Finance and Services [Dominic Perrottet].
"Transport for NSW considered all community feedback in finalising its decision, and that feedback strongly endorsed 'Shellharbour' being part of the name," the statement said.
"Construction is continuing on the station and interchange at Shellharbour Junction and it is expected to open for customers later this year."
The debacle surrounding the naming of the new railway station at Dunmore took a final twist last week when Transport NSW installed Shellharbour Junction signs on the station's platforms prior to the name being approved by the Geographical Names Board (GNB).
The station, built to replace the existing Dunmore (Shellharbour) station, was initially known as Flinders under the previous Labor government.
Then in 2013, the Liberal Party's Kiama MP Gareth Ward announced the station would be called Shell Cove, following "a strong community campaign".
After months of debate over the name and anger at the lack of consultation, both Flinders and Shell Cove were ruled out as options by the GNB as the new station would still be located in the suburb of Dunmore.
Transport NSW then proposed the name Shellharbour Junction, which became the subject of a GNB public consultation between July 18 and August 18.
The GNB's options include assign the name, abandon the proposed name Shellharbour Junction, defer the proposal, make amendments to the proposal or do more community consultation.
However new Shellharbour Junction signs were placed on the platform prior to the GNB meeting to discuss the issue.
Shellharbour MP Anna Watson said the decision was no surprise as the government had hijacked the process by putting up signs before a decision had been made.
"It's a pity the State Liberals will put the taxpayer through the added expense of having to change timetables when the commonsense solution was to keep its current name," Ms Watson said.
Kiama MP Gareth Ward said as Dunmore station had its access cut by the highway upgrade, the new station is much closer to the population and will provide disability access, better car parking and CCTV.
"The debate about the name was a smokescreen created to cover up Labor's shame and embarrassment for the failure to deliver on their promises,'' Mr Ward said.
Name game nothing new
A story behind how the existing railway station Dunmore (Shellharbour) was named featured in the 2004 book All aboard!:Tales of Australian railways by Jim Haynes and Russell Hannah.
The story goes that in the mid 1980s, David Hill, the one time general manager of the ABC, was chief executive of NSW State Rail.
At the time the station was known simply as Shellharbour.
According to the book, David Hill liked to enjoy the joys of train travel from the point of view of an ordinary punter rather than from the pampered luxury of the commissioner’s car.
The story goes that once a month, David Hill would select a destination from the list of stations and travel incognito, checking on staff, service and comfort as he went.
‘‘Inevitably, one day his selection was Shellharbour and thinking this would be a pleasant trip to a seaside resort he boarded the train at Central and enjoyed the scenic trip down the coast,’’ the chapter reads.
‘‘When he reached Shellharbour Station he found himself surrounded by cow paddocks with the straggle of houses on the other side of the road.
‘‘Now David Hill was no dill and he realised that this couldn’t possibly be the resort town of Shellharbour, even though the station signs were telling him so – after all he couldn’t even see the sea.
‘‘It was still the days when the railways employed people and there, waiting to collect his ticket, was a 16-year-old junior station assistant."
“Well” says David to the kid; “This clearly isn’t Shellharbour Township”.
“No mate” says the kid (he didn’t know who David Hill was, you see, or he would have called him sir). “This is Dunmore.”
“Well where’s Shellharbour?” asks David.
The kid points up Shellharbour Road and says “its up the road there a bit, just over the hill – it’s about four or five kilometres away.”
“That’s a bit strange,” muses David. “Wouldn’t you have thought that they would have built the station a bit closer to the town than this?’’
Well, the kid looks at David Hill like he’s a bit simple and says: “no mate, it’s much better down here near the railway line.”
Within weeks of David Hill’s visit the station got a name change to Dunmore – Shellharbour.