AFTER seemingly endless years of discussions about upgrading the Ballarat train line, we are finally starting to see some results.
While Ballarat commuters might get frustrated with ongoing weekend works on the line causing cancellations, we are finally starting to see where the state government’s $518 million investment is going.
Director Regional Rail Revival Mark Havryluk said more than 500 people were working on the Ballarat line with the Deer Park to Melton extension expected to be completed by the end of next year.
"Ballarat passengers can look forward to more services and better reliability once the Ballarat line upgrade is complete," Mr Havryluk promised.
"There will be much-need extra services in the morning and afternoon peak and it will allow for trains every 40 minutes off-peak."
"It will enable more services on the line, and help improve the reliability of services, as trains will have more opportunities to pass each other, allowing them to recover sooner from disruptions.”
Mr Havryluk said the duplication of the line between Deer Park West and Melton will allow for the future electrification of the line to Melton.
He said one of the lesser known advantages of the upgrade would be how it worked into the new Melbourne Metro Tunnel, which is expected to be completed by 2026. It would allow Ballarat commuters to cut 20 minutes off their trip to destinations like St Kilda Road.
“Passengers on the Ballarat line will be able to seamlessly interchange with Metro Tunnel services at Sunshine and Footscray Stations to reach destinations at Parkville and St Kilda Road by train for the first time,” he said.
“Ballarat line passengers will be able to travel by train to the St Kilda Road employment precinct and the Shrine of Remembrance at the new Anzac Station and the University of Melbourne and hospitals via Parkville Station.”
READ MORE:A look at Ballarat’s rail service
He said the Metro Tunnel will create an end-to-end line from Sunbury in the west to Cranbourne/Pakenham in the south-east with five new underground stations which will free up space in the City Loop for an additional 504,000 peak passengers each week across the network.
Public Transport Minister Jacinta Allan said passengers could now see the carriage the changes that have been made.
"Construction has begun on the 4.5km Ballan passing loop, and will ramp up soon on a second passing loop at Millbrook,” she said. “These loops will allow trains to pass each other, allowing for more services on the line and helping services recover more quickly.”
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