Passengers on the Ballarat line are reminded to plan ahead this month, as a works blitz on the half-a-billion-dollar Ballarat Line Upgrade gets underway.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Michael McCormack and Minister for Public Transport Jacinta Allan said V/Line services on the line would soon be replaced with coach services to enable more than 350 people to work around the clock for five days on the project.
Mr McCormack said great progress had already been made on the project and thanked passengers for their understanding as this vital work was delivered.
“Significant work has already been undertaken along the line between Caroline Springs and Millbrook, with more than 200,000 hours being completed on the project since construction began in late 2017,” he said.
“This half-a-billion investment in the Ballarat line will bring more frequent and reliable services for passengers and we thank people for their understanding as we progress construction on this project.”
While trains are not running, work will progress on the Millbrook passing loop, with around 750 metres of rail being shifted to create space for new track.
Crews will install safety fencing so construction can begin on the new 4.5-kilometre Ballan passing loop. The two new passing loops will boost reliability and enable extra services to run on the line.
The works blitz also includes relocating underground services, extending six-metre long drainage culverts under the tracks between Caroline Springs Station and Melton South, and installing two new rail turnouts along the line.
Ms Allan said as services are not currently running, V/Line has made arrangements to ensure passengers can get where they needed to go as quickly as possible.
“Crews will be working around the clock over five days, to get critical construction done while trains are not running,” she said.
“Trains will continue to run between Southern Cross Station and Caroline Springs during these works and this arrangement means passengers can get to their destinations faster.”
While construction on this essential project continues, coaches will replace Ballarat, Ararat and Maryborough trains for all or part of the journey from Saturday 16 June to Wednesday 20 June.
Trains will continue to run between Caroline Springs and Southern Cross Station during these works.
This means disruption will be minimised for passengers travelling from Wendouree, Ballarat, Ballan and Bacchus Marsh, particularly during peak periods, as coaches will not get caught up in traffic over the West Gate Bridge.
Passengers are urged to plan ahead and allow extra travel time while these works are underway. Train services will return to normal on Thursday 21 June.
A range of express and ‘all-stations’ replacement coach services will be available and a temporary timetable will be in place.
Passengers can plan their journey at vline.com.au or by calling 1800 800 007.
The Ballarat Line Upgrade will transform the state’s second busiest regional train line and will be completed in late 2019. It will enable 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.
The Australian Government has committed $502 million and the Victorian Government $55 million to the upgrade of the Ballarat Rail line as part of the jointly-funded $1.75 billion Regional Rail Revival program.