Brimbank Council has called for upgrades to Deer Park and Ardeer train stations, and grade separations at key rail and road crossings in Deer Park and Sunshine West, as part of upgrades to the Ballarat rail line.
Council will lobby the Victorian Government to extend the scope of works for the planned $518 million Ballarat rail line upgrade, due for completion in late 2019.
The current proposal includes duplication of 17 kilometres of track between Deer Park and Melton, improvements to stations to the west of Brimbank, the construction of new passing loops and associated works.
Brimbank Mayor Cr John Hedditch said Council would advocate for the project to also include upgrades to Deer Park and Ardeer train stations and grade separations at rail crossings at:
“Quality public transport is so important for our communities to be able to access education, employment and other services,” Cr Hedditch said.
“We know the high cost of running cars is a significant burden for many households in Brimbank and Council strongly supports improvements to our public transport network.
“The upgrade to the Ballarat rail line will allow more frequent train services along this line – which will be a great outcome for public transport users.
“While Council strongly supports improvements to the public transport network, there is a now urgent need to minimise the risk that more train services could increase congestion at nearby level crossings due to boom gates being down more often.
“Stories already abound of cars and trucks waiting more than 20 minutes for boom gates to rise and of school children running across in front of trains to get to school on time.
"Brimbank Council is asking the Victorian government to learn the lessons from the St Albans rail crossings case study and prevent unnecessary fatalities by fast tracking grade separations on this already busy line that is about to get much busier.
“For this reason, we are calling on the Victorian Government to include grade separations at three intersections in Deer Park and Sunshine West as part of this project.”
Council has long advocated for the duplication and electrification of the railway line to Melton. Electrification is identified as a key initiative in Council’s Unlock the Opportunity – Transport Priorities paper.
Councillor Bruce Lancashire, Council’s Delegate to the Ballarat Rail Line Action Committee, said Council would also ask the State Government to fast-track planning for the electrification of the rail line to Melton.
“Electrification will create a new metropolitan train line into the city,” Cr Lancashire said.
“We need to begin this process now, so that residents of the west can benefit from improved services as soon as the Melbourne Metro Rail Project is completed,” Cr Lancashire said.
At the 18 July Council Meeting, Council resolved to write to the Victorian Minister for Public Transport, the Hon. Jacinta Allen MP, calling for the improvements.