The closures on October 11 and 12 were for geotechnical investigations, which “confirmed the location of underground services and utilities beneath platforms six and seven”, a Transport for NSW spokesperson said. “Construction work is on track to begin early next year, and will be planned to minimise impacts on customers.”
The Minister for Transport, Gladys Berejiklian, added that “plans and designs will be available in the next two months for community feedback and construction is on track to begin early next year.”
Tenders have been put out, and a construction company is being sought to begin construction once the development plans are approved.
The lift was announced by the Transport Minister in August as one of 120 projects in the NSW government’s $770 million Transport Access Program. The planned development also includes improved access from Lawson Street and a secure, modern bike cage.
The investigations were a much welcomed sign of progress for members of the local community who have campaigned hard for the development of the 150-year-old station. The lack of action since the announcement had some concerned that it was yet another case of a press release not materialising.
Laura Kelly from the community group Lift Redfern maintained that “we will continue to lobby for full equality in access and the complete re-furbish of the Redfern station, however, we can celebrate that we have secured what we asked for in the interim.”
Redfern station is one of the largest stations in Sydney’s rail network used by approximately 50,000 people a day accessing Sydney University, the Australian Technology Park and North Eveleigh.
Despite the community’s hard work and a petition with over 11,000 signatures being submitted to parliament, community groups haven’t been consulted in the development plans. “There has not been any consultation done with the campaign group,” Ms Kelly said.
One of the main reasons why NSW governments were reluctant to upgrade Redfern station related to plans for another rail crossing of the CBD and harbour. The Minister revealed: “If the NSW Liberal and National government receives a mandate in March work will begin on Sydney’s rapid transit network, from Sydney’s North West, through the CBD and west to Bankstown.”
It is unlikely that the full redevelopment of Redfern station will happen before the rapid transit network is realised, but in the short term there will be some access for less mobile members of the community.