9 April 2024

'Disgraceful': Council kicks back at Inland Rail following accessibility lifts decision

| Jarryd Rowley
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damaged bridge

Wagga Wagga City Council has been left scratching its head after Inland Rail denied the council’s request for a lift on Edmondson Street Bridge. Photo: Chris Roe.

Wagga Wagga City Council has been left disappointed after receiving correspondence from Inland Rail regarding a proposed lift for the new pedestrian bridge on Edmondson Street.

Council wrote to Inland Rail last week requesting for a lift to be installed as a safe and accessible point for pedestrians to cross Edmondson Street once the new train line is completed.

Wagga Wagga City Council general manager Peter Thompson said the response from Inland Rail indicated the result of the request would not be receiving a yes or it was out of the scope of their [Inland Rail’s] project.

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“Our most recent meeting with Inland Rail was with the CEO and the project director. The issues that were in last night’s [Monday 8 April] report, such as the Edmondson Street Bridge and the lack of lifts on pedestrian crossovers and the upgrade crossings, all remain a great concern to us,” Mr Thompson explained.

“For Inland Rail to consider increasing the height and providing multiple ramp turns so that someone who doesn’t enjoy access as easily as other people and as a result has to walk, that is quite frankly disgraceful.

“This isn’t a rail line that goes around the periphery of the city. It’s a rail line that goes through the middle of our city.”

Mr Thompson displayed his frustration at the decision suggesting that Wagga and other regional cities were being ignored.

“If we’re in Sydney, we will be getting lifts,” he said.

“Just because we’re not in Sydney doesn’t mean that people who live here, who are challenged by access issues, don’t receive the same dignity that people have in other parts of the city.

“So to some degree, we are continuing to advocate particularly for the little abilities accessing our lift. We’re pursuing that quite strongly because whilst we disagree vehemently with some of the other issues, such as the lack of treatment to the head grade crossings, this is one that we think is a lot easier to solve.”

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Mr Thompson expressed clear disappointment with the decision stating that the accessibility issue was an easier and more affordable decision than the bypass. He remains hopeful a happy medium will be met.

“I’m going to be a positive person and say that, at the very least, I’m hopeful,” he said.

“I have no reason to be hopeful yet, but I’m hopeful that common sense will prevail and we will provide lift access so that people who need to cross over that rail line using those pedestrian crossings will be able to enjoy the same facilities that you would receive if you’re in Sydney.”

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Michael Cameron9:17 am 10 Apr 24

The only reason Wagga Wagga is not being listened to is that this city NOT part of NSW, NSW being Newcastle Sydney Woolongong. We are not on their side of the Blue Mountains. Just another reason we should split from this co called NSW and go it alone!

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