Update On The Ballarat Train Line
The Australian and Victorian governments are upgrading the Ballarat line to deliver more trains and improved reliability for Melbourne’s outer western suburbs, Melton, Bacchus Marsh, Ballan and Ballarat.
The project will enable much needed extra services in the morning and afternoon peak, plus a train every 40 minutes off-peak for these growing communities.
Major construction will commence in late 2017 with a target completion date of late 2019.
Proposed station layouts
As part of the Ballarat Line Upgrade we will be upgrading Rockbank station and building additional platforms at Bacchus Marsh and Ballan stations. We want your feedback on the proposed station concepts and layouts so we can understand what’s important to local residents, communities and commuters.
Preferred bidder selected
The consortium of Lendlease Engineering, Coleman Rail and SMEC Australia has been selected as the preferred bidder to build the Ballarat Line Upgrade, following a competitive evaluation process. More information about the project delivery and procurement.
The Minister for Planning delivered his decision on 10 August 2017 that the Ballarat Line Upgrade did not require an Environment Effects Statement (EES). The EES referral and decision can be viewed on the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning website.
EPBC Act referral
An EPBC Act referral was required to assess whether the Ballarat Line Upgrade is likely to have a significant impact on matters of National Environmental significance. A ‘no-controlled action’ decision was received on 10 August 2017, meaning no further actions or assessments are required. The EPBC referral has been published on the Commonwealth Department of Environment and Energy’s website (Reference number 2017/7980).
Keeping you informed
The project team would like to know how and when you’d like to hear from them so they can keep you fully informed about the delivery of this project. Please complete this short survey. You can also now follow the project on our Facebook page.
The Ballarat Line Upgrade includes:
- duplication of 18 kilometres of track between Deer Park West and Melton
- upgrading Rockbank station and extending platforms, constructing a new pedestrian link between platforms and building a new car park
- additional platforms at Bacchus Marsh and Ballan stations, with new pedestrian links between platforms
- new stabling facilities at Maddingley, and the removal of stabling facilities at Bacchus Marsh
- a five kilometre passing loop at Ballan
- a new four kilometre passing loop, at Millbrook, making it possible to close the existing Bungaree loop and remove five level crossings
- duplication of three kilometres of track east of Warrenheip Junction.
The number of people choosing to live in Melbourne’s outer west is growing, with Melton one of Australia’s fastest growing municipalities and Ballarat representing Victoria’s third-most populated city.
The Ballarat Line Upgrade will enable much needed extra services in the morning and afternoon peak, and a train every 40 minutes off-peak for these growing communities, and all others along the rail corridor.
Passing loops will provide more ways for trains to pass each other, which will help services recover from unexpected delays more quickly.
The removal of five level crossings as part of the decommissioning of the Bungaree loop will improve safety for motorists and the local community.
The upgrade will also pave the way for future electrification of the line to Melton, creating a new metropolitan train line into the city.
The statutory environmental and planning approvals process for the Ballarat Line Upgrade will include:
- a referral under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act), to be submitted to the (Federal) Minister for the Environment and Energy
- a referral under the Environment Effects Act 1978 (EEA) which determined if an Environmental Effects Statement (EES) is required, to be submitted to the (State) Minister for Planning, and
- a Planning Scheme Amendment to the Melton and Moorabool Shire Planning Schemes, to be submitted to the (State) Minister for Planning.
A written referral was sent to the Minister for Planning requesting a decision on whether an Environment Effects Statement (EES) is required for the Ballarat Line Upgrade. The EES referral can be viewed on the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning website.
About The Planning Scheme Amendment
Melbourne Metro Rail Authority will seek planning approval for the Ballarat Line Upgrade from the Minister for Planning. The proposed Planning Scheme Amendment would apply to land within the road and rail corridors affected by the project as well as any land temporarily required for access and to support construction. The amendment would provide site specific controls via an incorporated document permitting development of the project without the need for further planning permits.
Formal feedback from property owners and occupiers, and other interested parties who may be affected by the Ballarat Line Upgrade was sought between 13-27 June 2017. Thank you to everyone who provided feedback. Information gathered will inform the Planning Scheme Amendment.
About the EPBC Act referral
An EPBC Act referral is required to assess whether the Ballarat Line Upgrade is likely to have a significant impact on matters of National Environmental significance. The referral document outlines matters of National Environmental Significance within the project area, potential impacts of the project on these matters and the control measures to be put in place.
The EPBC referral has been published on the Commonwealth Department of Environment and Energy’s website (Reference number 2017/7980).
In August 2017, the Premier of Victoria declared the Ballarat Line Upgrade to be a project to which the Major Transport Projects Facilitation Act 2009 (other than Parts 3 and 8) applies.
The Premier of Victoria has appointed the Minister for Public Transport as Project Minister for the Ballarat Line Upgrade.
Learn more about the Major Transport Projects Facilitation Act (external link).
Project procurement and delivery
The Ballarat Line Upgrade is being delivered by the Melbourne Metro Rail Authority (MMRA).
MMRA has some of Australia’s most experienced rail experts and is also delivering the Metro Tunnel, Victoria’s biggest infrastructure project since the City Loop was built in the 1980s.
Together, the Ballarat Line Upgrade and the Metro Tunnel will enable future electrification of the line to Melton – creating a brand new metropolitan train line into the city.
In early May 2017, five experienced construction firms submitted bids to build the Ballarat Line Upgrade:
- John Holland, Arcadis, KBR
- Laing O’Rourke, AECOM
- Lendlease Engineering, Coleman Rail, SMEC Australia
- CPB Contractors, WSP
- Transform (McConnell Dowell, RCR O’Donnell Griffin, Arup, GHD)
In July 2017, a consortium comprising Lendlease Engineering, Coleman Rail and SMEC Australia was selected as the preferred bidder to build the Ballarat Line Upgrade.
Site investigations underway
Melbourne Metro Rail Authority is currently conducting geotechnical, ecological and noise investigations along the rail corridor. These investigations will not disrupt services. Around 350 geotechnical investigations have been completed along the rail line. The investigations include nearly 90 boreholes and test pits to gather soil and rock samples.
These samples will provide valuable information about the ground conditions in the area and inform the design and construction of the project, which will deliver more services to the Ballarat line. Further site investigations including geotechnical drilling, service locating and ecological assessments will be carried out in the coming months to inform the project’s detailed design.