Two main areas above the platforms: station entry and surrounding shops as well as a food court area with more shops.
There are four entrances to the station concourse
Street entrance from bus interchange
Street entrance from main shopping precinct, including Westfield Shopping Centre, and buses
Travelator from car park and offices
Ramp from car park
People using the train station arrive from entrances 1 and 2 . I parked my car on the rooftop and arrived from entrance 3 via a travelator. This entrance provides direct access to Coles supermarket and minimal contact with people using the station entrances. Entrance 4 has concrete ramps leading up to roof carpark.
The entrances to the station sit inside a large rectangular area in the centre of the space.
As people enter from either of the large street access points, they are faced with electronic indicator boards and ticket machines. The floor covering for the whole space is beige tiling. The busiest areas of the space (1,2 and 5) have horizontal strips of black tiles, reminiscent of a pedestrian crossing. This gives the illusion of a space where there is a lot of foot traffic and a space where you would not stop for any length of time.
The ticket machines also have large floor advertising in front of them (at the moment they all advertise the OPAL card). This also gives the illusion of a space for use of the ticket machines, not a place to stop for any other purpose. Closer to the indicator boards, the pedestrian-like tiles stop, giving the impression that this space is for stopping and examining the indicator boards.
It was easy to identify the people who were not catching regular trains, as they spent some time looking at the indicator boards prior to entering the station. Other commuters made their way directly to the ticket barriers, knowing their daily routine.
The entrance barriers are located on the sides away from the street entrances. This would avoid congestion at peak times. As trains arrived, the space around the platform entrances were busy but not congested. This was probably due to the fact that the area is wide and clear of shop entrances. People moved away from the entrances towards the exits and , in some cases, towards the food court.
The food court area is a modest sized area near the station entrance but not close enough to interfere with station activity. The people eating here were mainly singles with a few family groups. I did not find this a very pleasant place to eat. I bought some take away and sat and observed the activity in this area. The long tables with stools were used by people like me – alone, eating because it was lunch time. The tables with movable chairs surrounded the bins and were occupied by small groups – they all appeared to be shoppers except for the group of 7 men sitting in a group drinking coffee. This activity is also observable in Westfield where groups of men gather to chat whilst waiting for their wives to shop. The lighting was recessed and quite dull, particularly under the bulkheads. I did not like the bins being in the centre – almost all tables were only a few steps from the bins.I would have preferred to see them on the outer edges – they would have been more accessible, particularly for people like me on the high tables around the outer edges. It is also not very pleasant to have bins as the centrepiece of the space.
Having observed the concourse in general for some time, I then decided to head to the platforms. As I was not actually travelling anywhere, I did not wish to purchase a ticket. It was, at first, difficult to find someone to approach with my request for entry without a ticket as the two men inside the station entrance were not located in a position to help people outside the barriers.I eventually caught the eye of a railway worker inside his office beyond the ticket barriers. He seemed a bit confused by my request, but told me to go back out and speak to someone at the information windows – they would provide me with a visitor’s pass. At the information window, I was told to just go in (which I did, after confirming that the first man would still be there in 15 minutes to let me out without a ticket).
The atmosphere and mood of my experience changed as I moved from the concourse, through the barriers and down to the station. Whilst the fluorescent lighting on the concourse above was bright and encased in large downlight fittings, the lighting on the platform consisted of uncovered fluorescent strip lighting with natural light emanating from either ends of the platforms. The walls on the platforms were dark from dust and build-up of material from passing trains, including non-electric trains carrying coal etc.
As I watched people arrive on the platform, most glanced at the indicator board before proceeding to a space to wait for the train. Some looked for vacant seats whilst others kept walking until they found an area to stand that wasn’t too close to anyone else. Most seemed to look for a space as close as possible to the centre of the platform. Once settled, the majority of people stood looking at their phones until the train arrived. Others who were in pairs or small groups conversed. Those seated mainly looked at phones whilst a few read the paper. Due to the tunnel-like nature of the platform, it was quite cool and breezy. The people in this space are here simply to wait for a train.
Back up on the concourse, it is interesting to note the types of shops around the station . With a high Asian demographic, I am not surprised to see all take away food stores sell Asian cuisine, apart from McDonald’s of course. The other shops around the station entrance are those that commuters would find handy when in a rush- coffee counter, bakery, news agency, chemist. Coles also provides a place for a quick top up of the groceries on the way home as well as the “big shop” for those parking upstairs. Further from the station entrance you will find butcher, green grocer and fish monger.
Overall, I think the space works very well for a busy suburban rail station.
My comment on Bec’s Blog
My comment on Shannon’s Blog
My comment on Jo’s Blog