Regional train works ahead of schedule for better rail service

BALLARAT will see a huge benefit from the Regional Rail Link project, with V/Line trains beginning to use all new tracks from Sunshine into Melbourne in a matter of months.

However, passengers must endure another period on the buses at the end of June so construction can take place.

This section of track is considered one of the most problematic for train commuters, with V/Line services often coming to a standstill as they wait for delayed metro services.

The Courier and Committee for Ballarat members were taken for a tour on Monday of some of the new facilities and to see construction taking place.

Regional Rail Link Authority spokesman Bob Neilson said there would be another shutdown between June 28 and July 13. 

“The works during July are critical for us because they are massive signalling and commissioning works and that will enable Ballarat trains to use dedicated V/Line tracks all the way from Sunshine into Southern Cross,” he said. 

“That means more frequent services and more reliable services.

“These works really are the last final big push in terms of the works that are going to benefit Ballarat.”

Mr Neilson said the works did not just involve rail lines – major changes were happening to roads as well as construction of new train stations. 

The entire project is expected to be finished in early 2015, well ahead of schedule.

Committee for Ballarat chief executive John Kilgour said the tour showed the size and the scope of the project. 

“It is coming to its end, but the good thing is the future planning that has gone into the project, particularly around ensuring any further upgrades that are required with regard to the duplication or the electrification of Melton line,” he said. 

“It might be 10 or 15 years away but at least the infrastructure has been put in place to help support that.” 

matthew.dixon@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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