Ballarat Line Upgrade

Ballarat Line Upgrade

The Victorian Government is upgrading the Ballarat line to deliver more frequent and reliable trains 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 with a target completion date of late 2019.

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Project updates | About the project | Planning process | Project procurement and delivery | Project videos | Media releases | Contact us

Project updates

EES referral

A written referral has been 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.

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.

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 EPBC referral has been published on the Commonwealth Department of Environment and Energy's website (Reference number 2017/7980).

Keeping you informed

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About the project

Project scope mapClick to enlarge map

Project scope

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.

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.

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.

EES referral

A written referral has been 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).

Project declaration

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 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 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
Facebook: Ballarat Line Upgrade
Subscribe for email updates

For more information in your language please contact the project team using our Interpreter Line 03 9280 0700.

To register interest in supplying services or materials to the organisations that will be engaged by MMRA to deliver the Ballarat Line Upgrade, please visit the ICN Gateway.

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