Seedy station shame


LEONGATHA’S neglected rail yards are attracting lewd and loutish behaviour, and need urgent attention by authorities.

The Star has been told a man recently watched a teenage girl undress in a dilapidated carriage at the rail yards, unbeknown to her until she was informed by police.

The Star was told the girl, dressed in school uniform, entered the covered carriage. A man on the platform saw her do so and walked over to the carriage, peeping in through a hole. A witness said the man left after appearing to receive a mobile phone call. The girl later emerged wearing casual clothes.

“It was not nice to watch,” the source said, saying they were disgusted by vandalism of the station and seeing people go to the toilet on the station platform.

Unrelated to this incident, The Star also suspects sexual activity is taking place in the carriage after finding an empty packet of personal lubricant on the carriage floor.

The carriage is also littered with broken glass from alcoholic drinks, food packaging and cigarette butts, and has been graffitied inside and out.

Cans and broken alcoholic bottles have also been dumped around the station and yards, and concrete pulled from the platform, suggesting the site is a hub for drinking and rowdy behaviour.

A bus driver told The Star young vandals spraypainted the back of his bus while was he waiting to collect passengers one evening.

The Star recently reported on the vandalism of the station, with people defecating in an unlocked room at the station that has since been locked and is now monitored by a security firm.

A public toilet, opened recently, continues to not work with the door unable to open, despite being built for the benefit of bus travellers. The railway station is also Leongatha’s V/Line bus stop.

The State Government agency VicTrack is responsible for the rail yards.

A VicTrack spokesperson said, “VicTrack will continue to inspect the Leongatha station building and the surrounding precinct to mitigate risks and carry out maintenance. We encourage anyone witnessing antisocial behaviour to report it to the police.”

The spokesperson said the rail carriages were in the process of being relocated to a tourist and heritage railway.In the meantime VicTrack said it would monitor them as part of regular inspections.

“For their safety, members of the public should not enter the carriages,” the spokesperson said.

As for fire risk posed by overgrown grass throughout the rail yards, the VicTrack spokesperson said, “We carry out slashing and spraying during the fire danger period. This usually takes place in November and February, depending on growth and curing.”

The spokesperson said maintenance arrangements for the toilets were almost finalised and the toilets would be open to the public as soon as possible.

South Gippsland Shire Council mayor Cr Don Hill said recent vandalism at the rail yards was “deplorable” and council still hopes to turn the rail yards into a beautified area for public use.

“Council is working towards turning the current unattractive VicTrack land into a drawcard to the town. Plans have already been drawn up by council after extensive consultation with the community and negotiations are underway with VicTrack to take over a lease on the land,” he said.

“Until such time as council takes over the lease, the land remains with VicTrack and as such is their responsibility to keep neat and tidy. The recent vandalism that took place at the station is deplorable and hopefully the police are able to locate those responsible.

“Council is just as keen as the community to reinvigorate this area and as soon as more details emerge from our negotiations with VicTrack, council will inform the community.”

The rail yards have been abandoned since the South Gippsland Tourist Railway closed, with VicTrack doing little to care for the site.

Clean up this mess: clockwise, from main photo, the ugly Leongatha rail yards and former railway station are now the site of inappropriate behaviour; inside a carriage where The Star was told a girl changed not knowing a man was watching; an empty packet of personal lubricant found inside the carriage; and the carriage covered in graffiti.

Short URL: http://thestar.com.au/?p=26713

Posted by on Nov 27 2018. Filed under Featured, News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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