“Melbourne’s worst train station”: calls for action on South Kensington Station

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Kensington locals are once again calling on the state government to provide badly needed upgrades to the “super dangerous” South Kensington Station ahead of the next Victorian budget.

Renewed calls for upgrades have been led by Greens MP for Melbourne and Kensington local Ellen Sandell and the Kensington Association, with narrow platforms, poor shelter and lack of accessibility just some of a litany of safety issues plaguing the station.

Whether you’re a parent with a pram or someone living with a disability, Ms Sandell said South Kensington Station, which services the Werribee and Williamstown lines, was one best to avoid.

“It is super dangerous,” Ms Sandell said. “South Kensington Station is poorly designed and completely inadequate. The platforms are dangerously overcrowded and too narrow, especially for prams and wheelchairs.”

Chair of the Kensington Association Simon Harvey told North West City News, “It’s the worst station I’ve ever seen. It’s just terrible.”

“Many residents avoid this station and are forced to walk further to nearby stations to take a train,” Mr Harvey said.

“Inadequate shelter, poor lighting at night and restrictive access for wheelchairs and prams are some of the main issues that residents grapple with on a daily basis.”

According to Ms Sandell, many “near misses” between trains and passengers were regularly reported, with the platforms becoming incredibly dangerous when overcrowded. She also added that the station’s audio-visual equipment was “virtually non-existent”.

“We’ve had situations where people have suffered medical emergencies and have been unable to get help,” Ms Sandell said.

While the community has long campaigned for a complete overhaul of the station, the state government has so far only committed $1 million back in 2020 for basic upgrades to lighting and CCTV.

Despite the western portal of the state government’s $11 billion Metro Tunnel project surfacing at South Kensington, it has yet to commit to upgrading the station itself.

“The Metro Tunnel construction is creating a huge disruption in Kensington and the station is getting a new forecourt area, but the station itself still desperately needs an upgrade”, Ms Sandell said.

A spokesperson for the Department of Transport stated there were no current plans to upgrade the station, but said, “Making our public transport network safer and more accessible to all Victorians is our priority - which is why we’re constantly monitoring the network to determine where improvements may be needed.”

With the Metro Tunnel due for completion in 2025, Mr Harvey said the station upgrades needed to happen “very soon”.

“I don’t know how long in the future or how long we [the community] are going to wait. But the upgrade should definitely happen very soon,” he said.

Ms Sandell has launched a petition calling on the state government to upgrade South Kensington Station, which 70 people had signed at the time of publishing. •

You can sign it here: ellensandell.com/south-kensington-station

John Buncle

John Buncle

February 14th, 2024 - Felicity Jack
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