Geelong Line, the busiest regional line in the rail network of Victoria, Australia, is being upgraded to provide more frequent and reliable train services for passengers.
The rail upgrade project is a part of the A$4bn ($3.14bn) Regional Rail Revival programme, a joint initiative between the Australian and Victorian governments to upgrade all the regional passenger rail lines in the state. The upgrade is expected to support local jobs and suppliers through the Local Jobs First-Victorian Industry Participation Policy (VIPP), a government initiative that focuses on local industry development.
The project is being implemented in stages and is expected to be completed by late 2024.
Geelong Line upgrade details
The Geelong line upgrade includes delivering improvements to Waurn Ponds Station such as a second platform on the south side, pedestrian overpass, track duplication, and additional car parking to improve service reliability and increase services to and from Waurn Ponds.
Bicycle storage and hoops, and more than 90 new car parking spaces, new drop-off zone, and passenger information displays will be added as part of the upgrade. In addition, the project involves sealing 120 existing gravel car parking spaces and installation of additional CCTV, lighting, and myki machines.
A new train maintenance and stabling facility will be developed at Waurn Ponds to support the introduction of more frequent and reliable train services on the Geelong Line in future. Furthermore, a potential transport corridor is being planned near the Armstrong Creek, in addition to signalling upgrades, and track duplication between South Geelong and Waurn Ponds.
Construction on the Geelong line upgrade project was started in 2020. Stage one of the project includes the upgrade of Waurn Ponds Station.
The first section of the car park at Waurn Ponds Station with more than 200 new and upgrades spaces has been opened. Construction of the new platform, additional track, and overpass is underway. Piling work is ongoing and the station upgrade is expected to be completed by the end of 2021.
Construction of the new track will involve more than 2,500t of ballast and 500 sleepers. Other ongoing works at the station include the construction of the 180m-long second platform.
Stage two of Geelong Line upgrade includes Waurn Ponds Duplication Project, comprising the duplication of 12.6km of track between South Geelong and Waurn Ponds. Planning and development work for the South Geelong to Waurn Ponds duplication is ongoing.
Field surveys and site investigations are being undertaken for the planning and design of the duplication project. Construction of the duplication project is expected to be commenced in 2022, with completion scheduled for 2024.
Works also include the construction of a new rail bridge over the Barwon River and grade separation of the level crossings at Fyans Street and Surf Coast Highway.
Benefits of Geelong Line upgrade
The South Geelong to Waurn Ponds Duplication project will enable more frequent train services for Marshall, South Geelong, and Waurn Ponds. The rail line upgrade will ease congestion of the road network in Waurn Ponds by encouraging increased use of train services.
Stage three of the project is expected to increase the capacity of the Geelong rail tunnel located between Geelong station and South Geelong station. The level crossing removals at Fyans Street and Surf Coast Highway will reduce congestion and improve safety.
The Australian and Victorian governments are investing more than A$1bn ($771.92m) in the upgrade.
The Australian National Government allocated A$700m ($496.82m) for stages two and three of the South Geelong to Waurn Ponds upgrade. It is also investing A$4m ($2.81m) to develop a business case for South Geelong to Waurn Ponds – Stage three, which comprises the section of track between the Geelong and South Geelong stations.
Key players involved
Rail Projects Victoria is responsible for delivering the Geelong Line upgrade project on behalf of the Victorian Government.
Australian integrated services provider Downer was awarded a contract for the key components of the project, including the station upgrade and the stabling facility, in January 2020.