Ballan Station is showing signs of regeneration, with major works to improve accessibility and reduce train crossover delays under way.
As part of the $551 million Ballarat Line Upgrade, Ballan will receive a second train platform, with the station to provide better pedestrian and disability access via lifts and a new overpass between platforms.
The Ballarat line was closed for the construction push from Saturday morning, with rail services to return on Tuesday.
Public Transport Minister Jacinta Allan turned sod at the site on Monday morning, where works have also begun to create a 4.5 kilometre passing loop between Ingliston Road towards Old Melbourne Road.
“In talking to the local community, they told us they wanted to see improved accessibility to get to the station, so that’s why there will be ramps and lifts associated with the work here.
“This all gives us the opportunity to run more trains, more often in Ballan, but also along the Ballarat line.”
Regional Rail Revival Project Director Mark Haryvluk said there would be more serious construction work undertaken on the Ballarat line this year, leading to more bus replacement services.
“That second track is really important to us, because it enables trains to pass,” he said.
“We get up to about 500 people each weekend on these long occupations, and we’re really tapping into the local supply and subcontractor market, and leveraging off those community benefits in terms of getting the locals involved in these projects.”
The broader line upgrade will be completed by the end of 2019.
While the Ballarat Line Upgrade works were under way, V/Line also took the opportunity to complete maintenance along the line.
The V/Line works included adding ballast to the track between Bank Box and Ballan, as well as between Bungaree and Warrenheip. The Melton Reservoir viaduct was strengthened, with track welding, rail joint relocation and mudhole removal.
CEO James Pinder said V/Line scheduled its maintenance to coincide with other construction to minimise disruption to passengers.
“Where possible, we take the opportunity to align our works with the Ballarat Line Upgrade and we work closely with Rail Projects Victoria to schedule works at a time when it is typically quieter,” he said.
Planning for the redeveloped Wendouree Station is under way, with designs expected by the end of this year.