The Government of Victoria in Australia has commenced work on a A$518m ($396.4m) project to duplicate the Ballarat railway line between Deer Park and Melton.
Work on the line will be carried out alongside construction of the new Caroline Springs Station, in order to improve public transport in Melbourne’s growing western suburbs.
The first section of the duplicated double-track, a 1km section between Christies Road and the new station, is expected to open in early 2017.
The duplication of the remaining line between Deer Park and Melton is also scheduled to begin next year.
Melton Member of Parliament Don Nardella said: “The second track to Melton will create space for more trains through Rockbank, Deer Park and the new station we are building at Caroline Springs, and pave the way for electrification of the line in the future.
“Duplicating the Ballarat line to Melton has been talked about for decades. The time for talk is over, work is underway – we’re getting it done.”
The project also includes the construction of three extra crossing loops at Bacchus Marsh, Ballan and near Bungaree to provide more points for trains to pass each other.
New stabling facilities will be built at Melton and Rowsley to house extra carriages, and a second platform will be constructed at Bacchus Marsh and Ballan stations.
The government is also investing A$280m ($214.3m) in 27 new V/Locity carriages, which will have enough space to accommodate 2,000 extra passengers across the regional network.
Image: Vlocity railcars at Ballarat Station. Photo: courtesy of Wikimedia Commons / Biatch.