The Victorian Government has selected a preferred development team to lead the charge in design and construction for the $518m Ballarat Line Upgrade.
Premier Daniel Andrews announced that following a competitive evaluation process, Lendlease, Coleman Rail and SMEC were the chosen consortium which will now duplicate 18 kilometres of track between Deer Park West and Melton, paving the way for future electrification to Melton.
The project will also deliver extra passing loops, new train stabling, better stations, and more car parking, and relocate stabling at Bacchus Marsh station to Maddingley, away from homes – making it quieter for local residents.
“The Regional Rail Revival starts right here – upgrading tracks, stations and services for regional passengers," Acting Minister for Public Transport Jaala Pulford said.
“We’re delivering more frequent and reliable services for growing communities between Melbourne and Ballarat, and creating hundreds of local jobs.”
The upgrades will enable more trains, more often for passengers in Melbourne’s west and right along the Ballarat line, including trains every 40 minutes off-peak.
The project will create up to 400 jobs during construction – part of the more than 1,000 jobs the Regional Rail Revival program will create across the state.
The Ballarat Line Upgrade will be the first project of the larger Regional Rail Revival program, which the Victorian Government has called a "once in a generation investment" that will improve every regional passenger line in Victoria.
Since February, more than 200 site investigations have been conducted and nearly 90 boreholes have been dug to understand ground conditions along the Ballarat corridor, and inform design and construction of the project.
Extensive community consultation has also been undertaken, including meetings with councils and landowners, an online survey completed by more than 150 people and engagement with more than 2,000 local passengers.
A final proposal will now be developed, with a contract due to be awarded later this year.
Major construction is expected to start early next year.