Blacktown Council forum reveals Rooty Hill train station lift chief among residents' concerns

LONG WAIT: Blacktown mayor Stephen Bali said there was a "desperate need" for a lift at Rooty Hill train station. Picture: Geoff Jones

LONG WAIT: Blacktown mayor Stephen Bali said there was a "desperate need" for a lift at Rooty Hill train station. Picture: Geoff Jones

While most of NSW was watching State of Origin on Wednesday night, a crowd of about 60 people was at Rooty Hill School of Arts.

There at Blacktown Council’s community forum they made their voices heard on the issues that most concern them; the proposed incinerator at Eastern Creek, poor infrastructure, parking woes and dangerous traffic.

But one issue in particular has been a sore spot for residents for decades – the lack of a lift at Rooty Hill train station.

John Sayer and Olga Galagher have been vocal campaigners for a lift at Rooty Hill for five years. Pictures: Geoff Jones

John Sayer and Olga Galagher have been vocal campaigners for a lift at Rooty Hill for five years. Pictures: Geoff Jones

Upgrades at the station are touted in the state government’s Transport Action Plan, but have remained at the ‘planned’ stage for several months.

Blacktown mayor Stephen Bali said cries for the lift followed an announcement of multi-million dollar refurbishments at both Rooty Hill and Doonside stations. 

Peeling paint aside, Cr Bali said the real issue was the desperate need for a lift to help the community.

“At that time I said Doonside needed a lift not a ‘facelift’ and we have been lobbying for lifts at both stations,” he said.

“I urge the community to continue raising this issue with local state MPs, and we will continue our campaign to have lifts installed at both the Doonside and Rooty Hill stations.”

Wheelchair-bound resident Olga Galagher has taken the extraordinary step of writing to Transport Minister Andrew Constance, challenging him to come to Rooty Hill and “push me to the top of the ramp”.

Ms Galagher offered the same challenge to Premier Gladys Berejiklian when she served as Transport Minister in 2015.

“This lift is important to many of us, not only me, being in a wheelchair,” she said.

“What about the elderly who need to go to the other side of the station that do not have a car?

“Or...the many people who push their babies in a pram up and down the steep ramp, never mind all the steps to the platform.”

Blacktown mayor Stephen Bali said the turnout on Wednesday night showed the council's forum program was working.

Blacktown mayor Stephen Bali said the turnout on Wednesday night showed the council's forum program was working.

A spokesperson for Transport for NSW said 162 out of 307 stations in the Sydney Trains network were deemed accessible – with 80 per cent of the network’s passengers using those stations.

“Transport for NSW has funds allocated to provide an accessibility upgrade access at Rooty Hill train station,” the spokesperson said.

“The project is in the detailed design stage and Transport for NSW is working to provide the easy access upgrade and the new car park as soon as possible.”

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