Passenger train speeds between Ballarat and Maryborough will significantly increase later this year following the completion of level crossing upgrades, Member for Western Victoria Simon Ramsay said today.
Making the announcement on behalf of Minister for Public Transport Terry Mulder, Mr Ramsay said the two crossings were at Johns Rd and Australasia Drive in Creswick.
“Upgrading these level crossings will significantly improve safety,” Mr Ramsay said.
Mr Ramsay said V/Line would aim to increase the speed of VLocity trains travelling between Ballarat and Maryborough in November when Clunes Station was scheduled to open.
“Due to the large number of unprotected level crossings that existed between Ballarat and Maryborough, trains were slowed to 60km/h for safety reasons,” Mr Ramsay said.
“Following the opening of Clunes Station and some minor works V/Line trains will be able to travel at speeds of up to 100km/h. This will save up to 10 minutes travel time between Ballarat and Maryborough.”
V/Line Western Region Manager Peter Gibson said in addition to upgrades there were a number of closures that were negotiated with local councils and landowners.
“Between Ballarat and Maryborough there were 43 level crossings,” Mr Gibson said.
“Before the upgrades most of these were unprotected and used by private landowners. The line is now significantly safer for all people to use and allows us to run faster trains.”
In addition to the upgrades other safety improvements made to the line included the closure of two public roads (Sing Track and Halls Road), three private occupation crossings, and installation of gates at a further three private occupation crossings and gates to four other roads (Kilkenny, Adams, Hull and Walters roads).
There are minor upgrades to happen at two other crossings in the coming months. The first is at Lydiard Street, Ballarat and the other at Clunes that will be completed as the new station is constructed.
As part of National Rail Safety Week, which runs until this Sunday, pedestrians and motorists are being urged to be aware of the rules around level crossings.
“Motorists should always stop when the lights begin to flash and pedestrians should also be mindful of their safety when crossing the tracks,” Mr Gibson said.
“What we are seeing at Ballarat Station is people leaving the train and running in front of it to access the car park before the train has left for Wendouree.
“It’s dangerous and also distressing for our staff to be put into that situation.”
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