A few months ago, your mayor attended the community information session on the oft-delayed Newtown Station upgrade, where deputy premier and local member Carmel Tebut, representing both herself and the absent RailCorp and RTA, announced that the initial proposed plans for a lift from the existing station building to the platform had been abandoned for technical reasons, and RailCorp had gone back to the drawing board, with more ambitious (and expensive plans) due for release in 3-6 months for public comment.
Credit where credit is due, last month RailCorp did indeed come out with some details on the planned upgrade and timing. While there is a glossy brochure (available at the station) describing the upgrade (from where the above image comes), details are hard to come by online. The NSW government planning site offers just an unhelpful map, and local media coverage was limited to one article in the local rags. Finally however I managed to find the Development Application on the Heritage Branch website; where it appears we have until September 16th to comment, provided we get to Parramatta for the paper copies before then ! It rather brings to mind the beginning of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.
So what do we get ? The application states:
What this means is that the unused area between the station and the Townie will become the station entry, with a semi-covered walkway leading down to a point past the end of the Townie, where a concourse will be built over the platform, with two new sets of stairs dropping down onto the platform, as well as the much promised lift (just one).
Proposal: Construction of easy access facilities including installation of one lift to the platform, new centrally located overhead concourse, two stairs to the platform, new elevated covered access walkway from street entry to the concourse, new public toilets and family accessible toilet, new platform canopies, relocation of station ticketing facilities to refurbished two storey Tramways Depot Office, new and upgraded retail premises.
The picture above may help (click on it for a larger version); the building behind the tree is the Tramways Depot Office, which is proposed to become the new booking office, and the walkway runs down past it before swooping over the platform to become the new concourse and access point.
The map below gives another viewpoint; from it, it appears a new station access will be created at Thomas Street, off Newman Street.
The existing station buildings will be refurbished; and the existing stairs will disappear. The area outside the current booking office becomes part of the concourse; and the wall between it and the new access is removed. The actual booking office becomes new retail; and the adjacent 'Thundabox' building is to be (finally) renovated. It seems though that the Mayor's suggestion of a direct slippery dip from Platform 8 at the Townie has unfortunately been ignored.
Below are a few more pictures to help understand the plans.