ACCIONA Geotech’s subsidiary Coleman Rail and its partners Lendlease and SMEC Australia have signed the A$551.7m ($440m) contract to upgrade the Ballarat rail line in Victoria.

The project is being delivered by Melbourne Metro Rail Authority (MMRA) with funding from the state and federal governments.

The three-company consortium was previously selected as the Preferred Proponent in July last year.

It has since begun working with MMRA and V/Line to develop the design of the rail line and devise a construction strategy for the project.

ACCIONA Geotech managing director Bede Noonan said: “This upgrade will enable more trains to operate with greater reliability in Melbourne’s west and right along the Ballarat line.

“We are looking forward to working closely with MMRA and V/Line to deliver this important project to enhance the Ballarat line train user experience.

"We are looking forward to working closely with MMRA and V/Line to deliver this important project to enhance the Ballarat line train user experience."

“Coleman Rail has developed workforce programmes specifically to support the delivery phase of the project, creating new skilled jobs.”

The Ballarat upgrade project will involve line duplication works between Deer Park West and Melton to facilitate train movement in opposite directions, as well as pave the way for the future electrification of the line to Melton.

Furthermore, the initiative is set to include the refurbishment of Rockbank station, where the platforms will be rebuilt and additional pedestrian links will be constructed to provide access to new car parking spaces.

Additional platforms will be developed at Bacchus Marsh, Ballan and Wendouree stations, while a new station is scheduled to be built at Toolern between Rockbank and Melton.

The plans also include the construction of stabling facilities at Maddingley, the duplication of 3km of track between Bacchus Marsh station and Rowsley Station Road and the addition of a 4.5km passing loop at Ballan.

In addition, a new 4km passing loop will be built at Millbrook in order to close the existing Bungaree loop and remove five level crossings.

Construction work is scheduled to start in the first half of this year and be completed by late-2019.