MAJOR WORKS UNDER WAY AS BALLARAT LINE UPGRADE CONSTRUCTION NEARS COMPLETION

BALLARAT line passengers are being asked to plan ahead for service changes as work continues on the massive pipeline of investment for passengers on one of Victoria’s busiest regional train lines.

During a 23-day Ballarat Line Upgrade works blitz from Saturday 9 November to Sunday 1 December, coaches will replace trains for the entire journey between Ballarat/Wendouree and Melbourne.

Federal Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said buses would replace trains, as the staged commissioning of the Ballarat Line Upgrade works began.

“It’s exciting to see the construction on the Ballarat Line Upgrade nearing completion, but there’s still work to be done to deliver passengers the extra services they’ve been waiting for,” Mr McCormack said.

“Coaches will replace trains while crews get on the line in November to complete the duplicated track between Deer Park West and Melton, upgrade key stations and undertake critical signalling commissioning.”

After works are complete, there will be a staged commissioning phase, including critical safety testing and driver training, prior to new services being introduced in 2020.

Victorian Minister for Transport Infrastructure Jacinta Allan thanked passengers for their support and understanding while coaches replaced trains and urged people to plan ahead.

“The good news is, the project has already delivered benefits for passengers, including a completely rebuilt Rockbank Station featuring a 350-space car park, pedestrian overpass and other modern facilities,” Ms Allan said.

“We’ve also opened a new car park at Bacchus Marsh Station, and passengers will continue to see benefits as the project nears completion.”

Senator for Victoria Sarah Henderson said the upgrade would deliver more frequent and reliable services.

“This half-a-billion investment in the Ballarat line will bring more frequent and reliable services, transforming the state’s second busiest regional train line,” Ms Henderson said.

“It will provide much-needed extra services in the morning and afternoon peak periods, plus a train every 40 minutes off-peak for growing communities along the line.”

Crews have worked more than one million hours on the project, including laying almost 30 kilometres of track, building crossing loops and duplicated track, upgrading Wendouree, Ballan and Bacchus Marsh stations, and constructing a new station at Cobblebank.

From Saturday 19 October to Thursday 24 October, V/Line will complete critical maintenance on the regional tracks leading to platforms 4, 5 and 6 at Southern Cross Station.

While these works take place, Ballarat, Ararat and Maryborough passengers will travel on trains to Melton, connecting with coaches to and from Melbourne. Replacement coach services will also run between Bacchus Marsh and Melbourne.

The Ballarat Line Upgrade team will also take the opportunity to complete track work at the Hopkins Road level crossing in Rockbank while trains aren’t running.

For more information about the Ballarat Line Upgrade and other major projects across Victoria, visit bigbuild.vic.gov.au.

Passengers are encouraged to allow extra travel time and plan ahead by visiting ptv.vic.gov.au.

The Ballarat Line Upgrade is part of the $1.75 billion Regional Rail Revival, which is upgrading every regional passenger train line in Victoria, creating more than 1,000 jobs. Regional Rail Revival is a joint initiative of the Australian and Victorian governments.

Shane Manning