The need was obvious before it even opened.
As Upper House MP and Katoomba resident, Shayne Mallard, gave a speech to officially open the lift at Leura railway station last week, patrons on the 8.18 from Central were already using it.
The days of lugging prams and bags up the steep flight of stairs are long gone, Mr Mallard said, with the lift now working.
It is just part of a major makeover at the station. There is also a new canopy down the stairs, providing shelter from the elements.
There are new accessible toilet facilities, a kiss and ride drop-off point beside the taxi rank and the old ramp has been replaced with one with an easier gradient for those with a disability, with young children in prams and strollers or with luggage.
There is also better lighting and CCTV coverage on the platform.
Mr Mallard said the changes – which cost $8.75 million – would enhance the visitor experience of the “garden village” of the Mountains.
“These features will help service the Blue Mountains community now and into the future, with more people expected to call Leura and surrounds home in coming years.
“The changes also cater for the thousands of tourists who visit the town’s scenic attractions, hotels and restaurants on public transport each year.
“Careful planning goes into each station upgrade and at Leura we worked closely with the Leura community and heritage specialists to ensure the design was in keeping with historic features and character of the station.”
Cr Kerry Brown, who spent many months as a messenger between determined residents, council and Transport for NSW, said she was impressed with the new facilities and landscaping.
“For the first time, I have seen a heritage railway station be upgraded without it looking like a NASA project. I commend the Transport NSW staff for their willingness to listen to the community and include their hopes and ideas in the brief.”
Former Blue Mountains MP, Roza Sage, was at the opening, pointing out that the lift was “another election commitment” fulfilled.
Glenbrook is the next Mountains station in line for a lift.