May 4, 2014, 11:20 p.m.
THE addition of the new Caroline Springs train station to the Ballarat line will overcrowd carriages and lengthen journey times for commuters, according to Victorian Greens Leader Greg Barber.
The claim comes days after Minister for Public Transport Terry Mulder made the $32-million announcement that would see more than 1500 commuters per day use Caroline Springs train station.
Mr Barber said patronage would grow on the Ballarat line in the coming years.
“You have a growing patronage on the line,” Mr Barber said.
“Melton is a boom suburb, Bacchus Marsh only has one platform.”
Mr Barber said the predicted patronage growth was based on a V/Line Initial Strategic Operations Plan from November 10, 2011, which was obtained by the Greens under Freedom of Information.
He said the state government had not funded most of the required infrastructure projects listed in the strategic plan.
Mr Barber said a duplication of railway was needed between Melton and the city before works on electrification of parts of the Ballarat line could begin.
“If you want to run a lot of trains in the morning and cut overcrowding, trains need to come out before they come in,” Mr Barber said.
“A single track makes it difficult to add more morning trains. This is a short-term priority.”
Mr Mulder said the state government was heavily investing in rail along the Ballarat line.
“More residents of Melbourne’s west will be able to work or study in Ballarat and enjoy V/Line’s good value fares and comfortable trains,” Mr Mulder said.
“The V/Line-only extra tracks from Sunshine to Southern Cross will provide the capacity for extra weekday peak period Ballarat, Bendigo and Geelong line trains.”
City of Ballarat Mayor Joshua Morris said council supported any government investment on the Ballarat train line.
“We as a council understand how critically important rail infrastructure and linkages are. We would certainly encourage any additional investment into rail infrastructure that is going to improve the quality of service,” Cr Morris said.