THE next stage in the evolution of the Bathurst Railway Station precinct was unveiled on Friday.
An extension to the car park, which has been under construction since July, was officially opened by Member for Bathurst Paul Toole and Rail Action Bathurst chairman John Hollis.
The extension has added 43 places to the station, bringing the total number of car parking spaces to 68.
It comes as the railway station enjoys a revival in popularity due to the success of the Bathurst Bullet daily return train service to Sydney which was introduced in 2012.
“This is a major improvement to the infrastructure at the Bathurst Railway Station and I am sure will be welcomed by the wider community,” Mr Toole said.
“Rail travel is becoming an increasingly popular option for many people, especially those wanting to travel to Sydney and return in the one day on the Bullet.
“The new car park is fully sealed and has a comprehensive lighting and drainage system in place.”
Mr Toole said the project is part of a plan to improve the appreciation of the State Heritage-listed Bathurst Railway Station precinct.
He said changes were made to the railway yard, some old structures were relocated, improvements were made to the damaged store building and entry points were relocated to reduce traffic within the railway forecourt.
“Bathurst is an important transport hub for regional NSW, particularly for those customers who drive to and from the station to connect with services to Sydney and other regional hubs,” Mr Toole said.
“These improvements will revitalise its look and feel, while helping to ensure pedestrian safety and reduce traffic congestion around the bustling station.”
Mr Hollis said the need for new car spaces had been obvious from the early days of the Bullet service.
He said the new car park would be more secure for those leaving their vehicle during the day or overnight and its seats and interpretive boards, giving information on the history of the area, added to the railway precinct.
“It's been a great project, this Bullet, and been a great success,” he said.
Mr Toole said the pebble finish for the car park fit in well with the precinct.
“Black asphalt can be quite heavy and not aesthetically pleasing,” he said.
He said more investment was coming.
“We have started some work on the facade of the heritage railway station and there is more money coming to do further work on the building,” he said.
The new car park will also be able to be used by those visiting Bathurst’s planned railway museum.