The Government of Victoria, Australia, has announced the beginning of another phase of improvement works of its ‘half-a-billion-dollar’ Ballarat Line Upgrade programme.

The new phase of works will employ over 350 workers for five days and will feature the installation of a new track at Millbrook passing loop.

New safety fencing will also be installed to trigger construction works on a new 4.5km Ballan passing loop.

Two passing loops will also be created to enable additional services on the line.

Part of the project is also the relocation of underground services, the deployment of two new rail turnouts along the line, as well as extending drainage culverts under the tracks from Caroline Springs Station to Melton South.

“Significant work has already been undertaken along the line between Caroline Springs and Millbrook, with more than 200,000 hours being completed on the project since construction began in late 2017.”

Australian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Michael McCormack said: “Significant work has already been undertaken along the line between Caroline Springs and Millbrook, with more than 200,000 hours being completed on the project since construction began in late 2017.”

During the period of construction works, the V/Line services will be replaced with coach services.

Expected to be completed late next year, the overall Ballarat Line Upgrade programme will transform the regional train line corridor.

Once completed, additional rail services will be provided on the line during peak periods.

The federal government has pledged to invest A$502m ($382.4m) for this project, while the state government will provide A$55m ($41.9m) for the Ballarat Rail line.

This investment comes as part of the jointly-funded A$1.75bn ($1.33bn) Regional Rail Revival programme.