Ballan Station’s new second platform will be up and running by the end of 2019 after the state government released plans for refurbished stop on Thursday.
The station overhaul will include a new pedestrian overpass, an altered bus layout and additional bicycle storage facilities, as well as new lifts to allow for disabled access to both platforms.
Improved security, lighting and landscaping works will all be included in the multi-million-dollar facelift, while a new car park with a drop-off zone will be situated to the south of the station.
Speaking from Ballan Station, Public Transport Minister Jacinta Allan said the upgrades would respect the historic elements of the station while expanding its capacity. Over the past four years patronage on the Ballarat line has shot up more than 30 per cent.
“Following a lot of consultation with the local community, (we’ve recognised) there’s some wonderful heritage aspects here at the Ballan Station that we want to protect and preserve (while) also ensuring we’re putting in place the modern features we need for more and more passengers”.
In addition to the duplication of track at Ballan station to cope with a second platform, a 4.5-kilometre passing loop is being built between Ingliston Road towards Old Melbourne Road in an effort to reduce congestion.
The overhaul forms part of the $551 million Ballarat Line Upgrade, which also features major makeovers at Rockbank, Bacchus Marsh and Wendouree stations, on top of the construction of a new stop of Toolern.
Stage one of the upgrade, which also includes duplicating track between Melton and Deer Park, is expected to be complete by late 2019.
The works come amid V/Line’s ongoing performance woes, with the service provider having failed to hit its 92 per cent monthly punctuality target on the Ballarat line since October 2016.
Ms Allan said while “it’s frustrating for all of us” when targets were not met, carrying out the infrastructure improvements in the Line Upgrade project were crucial to improving train performance.
“We have to address those choke points on the Ballarat line,” Ms Allan said. “It means we can run more trains but also importantly run them more reliably.”