With an additional 125 services a week now running on the Ballarat Line, federal and state ministers joined to highlight the project’s benefits. Read more
A major timetable change will come into effect for metropolitan and regional trains in Victoria from 31 January, 2021. Read more
The final phase of testing and commissioning for the Ballarat Line Upgrade will be carried out during late December 2020 and January 2021.
The jointly funded project is in its final stages after construction was completed in 2019, said Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack.
“We’re excited to see the Ballarat Line Upgrade at this final stage, preparing the line for those much-needed extra services and better reliability for passengers in these growing communities,” said McCormack.
“It’s been more than three years in the making and nearly 1.6 million hours of work by dedicated crews, and we’re now on the home stretch to delivering huge benefits for passengers.”
Once critical safety testing is completed and drivers are trained for the new elements of the line, passengers will be able to take advantage of further increases to services between Ballarat and Melbourne, said Victorian Minister for Transport Infrastructure Jacinta Allan.
“We’re thrilled passengers will soon see the full benefits of the Ballarat Line Upgrade, but first we must complete this crucial final step on the project, as we integrate new track, a new signalling system and other infrastructure onto the existing rail line,” said Allan.
“It’s one of the most critical tasks undertaken on the project to date and it’s taken time to get the right resources in place to deliver this final piece of the project.”
While construction was largely finished in 2019, the new signalling system, which will allow more trains to run more frequently, was the last element of the project to be bedded in.
“Our rail experts have continued complex and extensive signalling design and planning work throughout the year in preparation for the commissioning, and passengers will soon enjoy the benefits of this hard work,” said Allan.
While buses replace trains, 500 metres of track duplication between Bacchus Marsh and Maddingley and at two level crossings in Ballan will be installed.
Once services return to the line, the new second platforms at Ballan, Bacchus Marsh, and Wendouree will open. The new station at Cobblebank has already opened and other stations have benefited from upgrades.
Already, two extra peak weekday services have been running between Melton and Southern Cross Station. Once complete, trains will run every 40 minutes in the off peak.
Melbourne’s Cobblebank Station in the outer west is now open, with services stopping at the station since Monday.
Deputy prime minister and minister for infrastructure, transport and regional development Michael McCormack said passengers along the line will experience greater reliability thanks to the 18 kilometres of new track duplication.
The new track between Melton and Deer Park West will enable extra services by providing allowing trains to pass each other along the Ballarat Line. Passengers between Melton and the city will also get two extra peak hour services.
“This is a huge step forward for Ballarat Line passengers, who will see even more benefits from the Ballarat Line Upgrade rolled out next year,” said McCormack.
The station opened after 23-days of intensive construction work, including upgrades at Bacchus Marsh and Ballan station, track and signalling works, safety testing and driver training.
“I thank the workers who have been out there day and night delivering these works so this wonderful new station can start taking passenger,” Victoria’s minister for transport infrastructure Jacinta Allan said.
The station was delivered as part of the half-a-billion-dollar Ballarat Line Upgrade, which also includes four major station upgrades, two new passing loops and new train stabling.
Major construction on the Ballarat Line Upgrade is on track to be finished by the end of the year, according to the government. A final works blitz will take place from Saturday 7 to Friday 13 December.
Following the completion of the major construction work, there will be a further period of disruption for commissioning and safety testing to bring the remaining infrastructure online and enable even more services to be introduced in 2020.
The $551.7 million Ballarat Line Upgrade is jointly funded by the federal and state governments as part of the $1.75 billion Regional Rail Revival Program.