Railways questions remain unanswered
It’s terrific to see what the State Government is doing along the Melbourne-Ballarat railway line: track duplications, new passing loops, improved train storage, station upgrades, future electrification to Melton – except for Ballarat. But there are still questions that need answers:
Why no cross-rail track access for disabled/luggage-carrying passengers to the station?
Why no management plan for the station precinct’s heritage (apparently of ‘National significance’ but becoming less so as each component of ‘protected’ heritage is removed and taken away or simply left to rot; e.g.: the ivy creepers rapidly ascending the rear of the former Ballarat ‘A’ signal box), especially as there is community-auspiced plan, funded by previous State Governments, from 2001 waiting in the wings.
Why is maintenance of the main station building always on the ‘back foot’? Can it be because the railways (VicTrack) would just love to see this maintenance monster go away?
Why no provision for even basic upgrading of facilities such as the station toilets? What about the former dining room, station master’s residence and most of the empty office space on platform 2?
Why insufficient parking for travellers being provided, in a poorly designed facility, when the State Government is suddenly prepared to spend millions of dollars on FREE parking for the CBD?
What is the State Government’s justification for subsidising private development on public land, particularly when the development is for non-transport related purposes?
How does the State Government justify the proposed, poorly located and poorly designed local bus interchange (suddenly rushed up as a late component of the station ‘development’) as a suitable adjunct to the precinct, especially as compared to use of the fully enclosed, currently vacant former goods shed?
Is anyone in charge really serious about having public transport (i.e.: buses) and bicycles as core components of transport in Ballarat, especially as linked to the railway system?
If this is the case, where is the strategy for this coming about - to justify and make sense of the limited number of carspaces being provided at the station - at least to the extent of providing for more bicycle parking and bicycle storage on the new ‘Velocities’?
With two new parliamentary representatives for Ballarat, maybe we’ll get some straight answers. Here’s hoping.
Hedley Thomson, Ballarat.