Towns to benefit from rail upgrades
The Cookernup Train Station will be given a makeover as part of an election promise to improve South West transport.
A sheltered platform, wheelchair accessibility ramp and seating for three people will be installed as part of the upgrades to the Cookernup and the North Dandalup stations.
The State Government allocated $1.28 million to the upgrades on the back of announcing a $1.6 billion plan to bring rail manufacturing back to WA.
Under the plan, rail car manufacturing firm Alstom will deliver 246 new rail cars to WA rail transport over the next decade, including six diesel rail cars for the Australind train by 2023.
The station upgrades will begin in coming weeks and be completed early next year.
Two car bays and one ACROD bay, line marking and bollards, new kerbing and bitumen surfaces will be installed and the low-level platforms will be fully upgraded to comply with Disability and Discrimination Act standards.
Cookernup resident Janelle Ryan uses a walking frame and is unable to catch the Australind train from the existing platform.
“The main reason we don’t use the train to go to Perth is because we have to travel to a station with a wheelchair-friendly platform,” Ms Ryan said.
“And by the time we’ve driven that far, we may as well just keep driving.”
Jac Taylor moved to Cookernup in 2005 and remembers needing to catch a bus when the service broke down back then.
“These trains have been forgotten about for years,” she said.
“I’m glad someone is finally doing something about it.”
Murray-Wellington MLA Robyn Clarke said the State Government was doing what it could in difficult circumstances.
“The previous government did no maintenance on the Australind line,” Mrs Clarke said.
“I would rather do maintenance than run a train with faults.”
Cookernup resident Shannon Winduss has been using the service since she was in high school and looked forward to the upgraded station.
“It’s very exciting,” she said.
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