They started their campaign almost seven years ago to the day: On June 2, 2010, a group of Wentworth Falls residents set up a railway access committee to lobby for improvements to the station.
This morning, June 19, 2017, new lifts, canopies, accessible toilets and waiting areas were finally opened.
It was a happy gathering at the station, with many of the campaigners turning up to see the fruits of their labours.
The access committee had comprised many members of the community who themselves couldn’t get to the trains because of mobility issues.
The long flights of stairs made life difficult not only for those for the elderly or inform but also people with prams and/or strollers and those carrying heavy luggage.
A secondary issue was safety: winter frosts often left the exposed stairs very icy, with repeated incidents of people slipping and falling.
Now, those days are gone, with three lifts in place – one from each side of the line and a third in middle to take people down to the platform – as well as canopies over the stairs to give cold weather protection.
Original agitators Barbara Bailey and Russell Mann were on hand to get an easy ride to the overhead bridge and a safe walk down the covered stairs to the trains.
“It’s just wonderful,” Mrs Bailey said, before thanking everyone who had helped in the campaign, including former and current MPs, Roza Sage and Trish Doyle.
“Wentworth Falls, you’ve shown you’re a true community… In the words of Jeff Fenech, I love youse all,” she said, to much laughter and applause.
Robert Deahm, spokesman for the committee, said many residents in the past had to travel to Katoomba to catch the train.
Wentworth Falls, you’ve shown you’re a true community… In the words of Jeff Fenech, I love youse all
A $2.50 all-day seniors ticket could end up more like $35 with a cab fare to Katoomba factored in.
“We want to thank the Premier for her strong support during her tenure as Minister for Transport and the government for providing these facilities and we look forward to more mountains stations being included in the easy access program.”
A delay in installing electricity upgrades means the lifts will operate through a temporary generator. One of the workers told the Gazette the power should be up and running by the end of the year.
Liberal MLC and Katoomba resident, Shayne Mallard, who opened the lifts, said electricity plans with Endeavour Energy had to be changed because of the “complex and unique geology” around the station.