Ballarat Line Upgrade

Ballarat Line Upgrade

The Victorian Government is upgrading the Ballarat line to deliver more trains and better reliability for Melbourne's outer western suburbs, Melton, Bacchus Marsh, Ballan and Ballarat.

The $518 million upgrade 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 early 2018 and a target completion date of late 2019.

About the project

Project scope mapClick to enlarge map

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 Spreadeagle passing loop, near 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.

Planning process

A VLocity train at Rockbank station

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) to determine 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.

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.

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 200 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.

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, Coleman Rail, SMEC
  • CPB Contractors, WSP
  • Transform (McConnell Dowell, RCR O'Donnell Griffin, Arup, GHD)

The bids are being assessed by MMRA with the contract being expected to be awarded later this year.

Project benefits

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.

Project videos

Media releases

Contact us

For more information about the Ballarat Line Upgrade, contact the project team:

Email ballaratlineupgrade@ecodev.vic.gov.au
Phone: 1800 551 927
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