A public meeting will be held on Monday as fever builds over train services to the Illawarra- with the group calling for construction of a tunnel between Thirroul and Waterfall.
There’s been general unrest since the State Government’s timetable alterations five years ago saw smaller stations standing desolate while locals flocked to newly-created hub-stations Thirroul and Helensburgh, but the situation has slowly been getting worse, with overcrowding becoming a serious concern on commuter services.
Now the debate is hotting up, amid claims services to Thirroul are no faster than they were in 1989!
A train trip between Thirroul and Waterfall is currently listed on Transport NSW’s Trip planner as taking between 41mins and one hour 15 minutes. To drive the same distance is an estimated 24 minutes.
Premier Gladys Berejikian this week announced she has a plan to ease Sydney’s traffic congestion. This protest wants train services to the Illawarra to be a part of that solution with an estimated 80% of locals commuting to work forced to drive claiming inadequate rail services.
Organised by ‘Illawarra Rail Fail’ the community meeting will bring together local residents and a panel of transport experts and MPS to clearly define the issues and to call on the State Government to invest a significant amount of money and improve public transport.
The group is demanding the following:-
- extra carriages on existing services
- Increased seating on the proposed new 2019 fleet
- Completion of the Maldon Dombarton freight line
- Lift access at Unanderra Station
- And a tunnel from Waterfall to Thirroul.
Panellists attending the meeting include Dr Phil Laird (national authority on rail from UOW), Dr Mehreen Faruqi (Greens MP) and Ryan Park (Member for Keira).
Parliamentary Secretary for the Illawarra Gareth Ward and Transport Minister Andrew Constance are unable to attend.
Illawarra Rail Fail Coordinator and meeting organiser Bronwyn Batten says with the 2019 State Election looming, now is the time to make politicians aware of our issues and demand improvements.
“Yesterday the Premier announced that there would be “game shifter” solutions to ease Sydney’s congestion over the next 18 months,” says Bronwyn. ” Will the Premier address our public meeting and announce what “game shifter” solutions she is planning for the South Coast Line?”
“llawarra Rail Fail is appealing for support not only from Illawarra residents who are commuters, but to those who care about the future of transport for their children and grandchildren.
“Your actions now can influence how long their trips will be and whether they will be able to get a seat. Illawarra residents must find their collective voice and harness people power. The time is right. Let’s stand up FOR our trains and not ON our trains!”
The meeting will be held on Monday May 28 from 7pm – 8:30pm at Illawarra Tennis Club (37 Foley St, Gwynneville).
Those attending are encouraged to register their attendance via the Illawarra Rail Fail Facebook Page (https://www.facebook.com/Illawarra-Rail-Fail/) or Event Brite (https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/public-meeting-calling-for-better-rail-services-on-the-south-coast-line-tickets-45501135120).