A new train station at Warrenheip proposed by public transport thinktank the Rail Futures Institute has received the backing of the Ballarat City Council, which will now lead the charge to secure funding.
The organisation’s proposal, which was unveiled in June, illustrated the potential for an additional station to the east of Ballarat in the next 10 years which could accommodate more than 1000 car parks.
The station would also be home to a bus interchange, giving drivers an alternative option to parking in the Ballarat CBD.
Ballarat mayor Samantha Mclntosh said the concept was particularly exciting given the ongoing debate about car parking at the Ballarat Station Precinct and nearby Mair Street.
“The Warrenheip concept is exceptionally exciting and makes a big difference to the other big projects which are happening around the centre of Ballarat,” Cr Mclntosh said. “The people on that side of Ballarat have another option which may cut their overall travel time down and if we're able to lessen people’s travel time from the front door to their destination, that’s what we're really talking about.”
The new station is among a host of proposed upgrades to the line which have been backed by council, including boosting the maximum train size from six to eight carriages as well as construction of a seperate standard gauge rail line between Ballarat East and Warrenheip to provide a bypass for commuter services to overtake freight trains.
The proposal also sets out long-term goals such as electrification as far as Bacchus Marsh and the quadruplication of track between Caroline Springs and Melton, with the ultimate objective of running Ballarat services express between Sunshine and Ballan.