Inside the city’s ghost platforms


Inside the city’s ghost platforms

The Daily Telegraph
January 14, 201312:00AM

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Laura Tunks-Eccles 21, at Town Hall station. Picture: Tim Hunter Source: The Daily Telegraph

THEY’RE the ghost platforms of Sydney.

While Town Hall and Wynyard railway stations are jammed to capacity during peak hour, St James and Museum – a couple of hundred metres to the east – are underground deserts.

Should the government open up under-used City Circle train stations? Leave a comment below

As the state government attempts to cure the city’s congestion ills with light rail through the city, at peak hour – while commuters battle the human crush at Town Hall and Wynyard for services on the Western, Northern and North Shore lines – St James and Museum are barren, serving only the Bankstown and Airport lines.

Infrastructure NSW has argued a low-cost option to avoid city congestion would be to divert the Western line through St James and Museum. Currently, the Western line is at 90 per cent capacity.

INSW also recommended a bus tunnel under George St to free up the roads above, but it has lost that argument with the government.

Transport Minister Gladys Berejiklian is on track to introduce her light rail line from Central to Circular Quay and out to the SCG, Randwick Racecourse and UNSW in Kingsford. Ms Berejiklian is making sure the George St light rail leg cannot be scotched by starting work at Circular Quay and Kingsford at the same time, rather than building the eastern suburbs section first.

Infrastructure NSW is understood to be displeased Ms Berejiklian has not even investigated the prospect of opening up the under-used City Circle train stations.

Yesterday Ms Berejiklian’s spokesman said the minister was “looking at” the proposal.

In response to Infrastructure NSW’s 20-year strategy, the government said there was an “investigation into improving the usage of existing CBD rail assets like the City Circle … (as) part of the work being undertaken by the government in the context of the Sydney’s Rail Future plan”.

“The number of people using City Circle stations will definitely increase over the coming years as we run more trains from the East Hills and Bankstown lines, particularly after the South West Rail Link opens,” Ms Berejiklian’s spokesman said yesterday.

“The government has already committed to an upgrade of Museum station.”

At St James station in peak hour last week, there was no queue for the electronic ticket machine and just a handful of backpackers buying tickets from CityRail staff shortly before peak hour.

The convenience store St James Food Station was empty. Manager Mohammed Abdalla said the heritage-listed station was mainly used by tourists and workers from the nearby David Jones and Westfield.

At Town Hall, by contrast, commuters, tourists and day trippers stood shoulder-to-shoulder on every platform as hundreds of people flooded the station for the peak hour rush, with lines of up to 10 people at the electronic ticket machines.

Insurance worker Laura Tunks-Eccles said moving the Western line services would ease congestion and make her trip more enjoyable.

The 21-year-old uses the Inner West line to commute to her home in Petersham.

“It’s busy here all the time,” she said.

“Moving some of the services is a good idea.”

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