THE Ballarat Line Upgrade is on-track for completion with works set to begin at Ararat Station in the coming months.
The upgrade has been ongoing since late 2017 and is expected to be complete by the end of 2019, and will result in another daily service being added to Ararat.
Rail Projects Victoria, who is overseeing the project, will extend the stabling facility at Ararat Station, enabling a fifth daily service.
Currently there is only capacity to stable one train, but the extension will mean two trains can be stabled there overnight.
“We’re currently working on the planning and design for the stabling upgrade at Ararat Station, with construction expected to commence this year, to allow a new service to be introduced,” Regional Rail Revival Director Mark Havryluk said.
It is not expected that the stabling upgrade will cause significant disruption, and much of it can be completed while trains are running.
Other upgrades in the project include:
- duplication of 18 kilometres of track between Deer Park west and Melton;
- a new station at Cobblebank, between Rockbank and Melton, separately funded by the Victorian Government’s Growth Area Infrastructure Contribution;
- Rockbank Station rebuild, including platform extensions, pedestrian link and a new car park;
- a new platform and pedestrian link at Bacchus Marsh, Ballan and Wendouree stations;
- an extra track at Wendouree;
- track duplication at Bacchus Marsh;
- relocating stabling facilities from Bacchus Marsh to Maddingley;
- passing loops at Ballan and Millbrook;
- signalling upgrades and track improvements.
“Ararat passengers will also benefit from the project, with a boost in reliability expected as trains will have more opportunities to pass each other on the line, reducing the impact of delays,” Mr Havryluk said.
V/Line also recently announced that it was training a record number of train drivers, with 108 people currently undertaking qualifications.
“We’re recruiting a record number of new train drivers to ensure we have sufficient resources to deliver the new services that will be made possible by the Ballarat Line Upgrade,” V/Line chief executive James Pinder said.
“This current crop of trainee driver recruits will play a critical role in delivering more Ballarat and Ararat line services into the future.”
Trainee drivers with related experience, such as driving metro trains or freight trains, take on average 41 weeks to complete their training, while someone who is new to driving trains can take about 73 weeks.
In 2018 two services were cancelled due to driver unavailability, including staff sickness.
On the Ballarat corridor, there were 17960 services to Ballarat, Bacchus Marsh and Melton, with 787 cancellations.
One per cent of all services were cancelled due to staff unavailability, including staff sickness.
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