19th Century rail service behind the times

A group of six councils west of Melbourne say their residents are sick and tired of having to rely on dated rail infrastructure – straight out of the 19th Century.

Brimbank, Melton, Moorabool, Ballarat, Ararat and Pyrenees councils have banded together to call on the State Government for a $50 million commitment toward the electrification of the Ballarat line, ahead of the 2018 state election.

Currently, the Ballarat line is only electrified to Sunshine station.

The electrification shortfall is limiting the number of services running from Melbourne’s CBD through to Melton considerably, according to Ballarat Rail Action Committee (BRAC) spokesperson and City of Melton Mayor, Bob Turner.

Electrifying the rail line to Melton will triple its carrying capacity, and allow up to 1400 people to travel on a single train.

“We’re tired of old, out-of-date rail infrastructure literally built in the 19th Century. It’s unreliable, full, slow and uncomfortable.

“The solution is clear; electrification of the rail line up to Melton is urgent and needs to happen now.”

Usage numbers on the Ballarat line have more than tripled in the past 10 years.

“Suburbs west of Melbourne are experiencing unprecedented population growth and the role of this railway will be fundamental in coming years.”

City of Ballarat Mayor, Samantha McIntosh, said that within 10 years, the rail line from Melbourne to Ballarat will require 30 trains a day, just to meet demand.

“Peak services to and from Ballarat are reaching capacity, and it’s common for our residents to have to stand for the entire hour-plus journey.”