IF broken fences caused by what farmers say is construction of a new rail line near Millbrook are not fixed before services start next year, commuters could be in serious danger, they have warned.
A group of farmers have united together to raise concerns over damage caused to their properties which they say has come from the $500 million construction to the Ballarat train line which is nearing its final stages.
Their concerns have varied from drainage issues to rubbish on their properties, but the greatest public concern is broken fences which are seeing livestock make their way onto the track.
James Downey, who runs a 600-acre farm on both sides of the newly laid track, said he has already had to rescue some of his 60-head of cattle from the tracks after they strayed due to broken fences caused by construction.
He said with 1.5km of fence line, it was a big task to check every post every day.
"Every morning I'd spend at least an hour driving around the property looking for broken fences and posts," Mr Downey said.
"Last week I had a gravel pit dumped on my fence line which has shorted out electric fences. I've had at least 20 broken fences and posts which means the cattle can just push straight through.
"I had a call after midnight a week or so back to say four of my cattle were on the line, so I was out there in the dead of night trying to heard by cattle back into the paddock. Cows are like sheep - once one goes, they all follow.
"I don't want to be responsible for a train derailing."
Adam Ludbrook said numerous meetings between farmers and constructors had been positive, but a lack of follow up was concerning.
Luckily the line isn't expected to be fully operational until early next year.
Regional Rail Revival says it has been in discussions with Millbrook landowners since September 2017 and it will have contractors working with farmers to repair fences from December.
It also says it will work with V/Line on measures to ensure access tracks can only be used by authorised people, with sleepers set to be removed in the next two weeks.
Passing loops at Millbrook and Ballan, and track duplication and second platforms at Bacchus Marsh, Ballan and Wendouree will come into service following a commissioning period next year.
Regional Rail Revival director Mark Havryluk said the authority was committed to fixing as many issues as it could.
"We will rectify any damage caused by our works and we're liaising with landowners in Millbrook adjoining the rail corridor to address any impacts," he said.
"We are undertaking a range of measures including drainage and private dam improvements, road repairs, and fence replacements."
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