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A high profile train spotter has suggested the Wollongong station receive an urgent upgrade, to become a hub for the local rail network.
Tim Fisher, the former leader of the Nationals Party and Deputy Prime Minister, made the comments during a trip to Wollongong for the Spirit of ANZAC Centenary Experience.
Mr Fisher travelled to the Illawarra on the South Coast Line, for the first time in more than 40 years.
He said he was shocked by a lack of progress at the Wollongong platform given the city's size and population.
"This is the 21st Century," Mr Fisher said.
"This is the Century of revamped revived rail through Europe, even through the USA, where many cities Phoenix, LA even, [are] extending their light rail and metro.
"Wollongong is crying out to have a super redevelopment of their station, with an east-west light rail down to the WIN stadium," he said.
Mr Fisher argues Wollongong has a big enough population to justify a more sophisticated rail hub.
"I just can't believe a city of Wollongong's size and dynamic would not have by now had a major retail hub and fly over development, and opening up from two to four platforms with one relief track at the 'Wollongong super-hub station'," he said.
"It's unbelievable how tiny Wollongong station is and how much air bridge potential there is."
Wollongong's Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery said services along the line need to be improved more urgently than the local platform.
"Some of those trains are so packed, especially at peak hours. I don't think that people would mind getting on station like Wollongong if they knew the service was better," Mayor Bradbery said.
"At this stage it's trying to deal with the quality of the service and the South Coast Line definitely needs an upgrade in terms of increasing travel times and the rail experience itself."
Mayor Bradbery also supported Mr Fisher's calls for greater development of light-rail services across the city, to better connect the CBD to the entertainment precinct.
"I always thought that was a brilliant concept," he said.
"The idea is certainly something that's been tucked away in the back of my mind at the first opportunity to put it up.
"But when the state government absorbing all the funds to Sydney and making sure the Sydney metropolitan area is better served, I'd just rather see a better rail service between Wollongong and Sydney, in terms of cutting down on time, and more rail cars," Mayor Bradbery said.
This article first appeared on www.abc.net.au
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