A 23-day work blitz is underway on the Ballarat Line Upgrade, which aims to improve one of Victoria’s busiest rail corridors.
After works are complete, there will be a staged commissioning phase, including critical safety testing and driver training before new services are introduced in 2020.
More than one million work hours have been spent on the project, including laying 30 kilometres of track, building crossing loops and duplicated track, upgrading Wendouree, Ballan and Bacchus Marsh stations, and constructing a new station at Cobblebank.
It is part of the $1.75 billion Regional Rail Revival, which aims to upgrade every regional passenger train line in Victoria, creating more than 1000 jobs. The revival is a joint initiative between the Federal and Victorian governments.
Federal Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Minister Michael McCormack said buses would replace trains, as the staged commissioning of the Ballarat Line Upgrade works began.
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“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,” McCormack said.
Victorian Transport Infrastructure Minister 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,” 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,” 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.”