Some changes to the Ballarat Line upgrade announced today:
- The second track to Wendouree will be rebuilt/reactivated and a second platform built there
- The 3km duplication east of Warrenheip junction is no longer going ahead, with the Wendouree section taking it's place.
- Duplication between Bacchus Marsh and Rowsley Station Road (seemingly past where the new stabling will be).
The Wendouree section will hopefully be useful, especially in the morning and afternoon peaks. Should mean that Ararat trains don't get delayed waiting for a path either. It's still not entirely clear whether the freight line will be reconnected at the up end to allow for passenger use, but I don't think it's likely now.
The way they've worded the Bacchus Marsh duplication information makes it sound as though the line will be duplicated, return to a single track for half a km, then Rowsley loop. Might just be something they haven't worded well.
Don't fall for the Governments Spin and deliberate obfuscation here . Effectively what is happening now is that 10 kms of duplicated bg track between Ballarat East & Warrenheip East is being replaced by a second platform at Wendouree, and 3 kms duplication at the Down end of Bacchus Marsh .
There is no mention of re instatement of the second bg track between Ballarat & Wendouree at all, rather a vague reference to duplicated track at Wendouree - which probably means the two tracks through two platforms .
What is needed at Wendouree is two bg refuge sidings immediately beyond the existing platform, not a second platform with all the associated COSTLY disability access issues . The need at Wendouree is to be able to run through an Ararat, and to originate/terminate closely spaced local trains there . That can all be done at much lesser cost still with the single platform, and two refuge sidings of 250m each on Down side of Wendouree .
In the medium this means status quo beyond Melton with just crossing loops at Rowsley (effectively useless and a white elephant already), Bank Box, Ballan, Millbrook (between the 2 high viaducts) , and Ballarat station .
Again we cut the cloth to fit something that was yet again NOT costed properly in the first place, and end up probably with little effective improvement beyond Melton .
At least from this sorry lot we should be extending the duplication beyond Bacchus Marsh to incorporate the existing Rowsley Loop with a 100kmh moveable nose Y junction at the Down end; and restoring the second track between North Ballarat and Wendouree to give some more operational flexibility at the Ballarat end to absorb late running .
The existing Rowsley Loop is useless, and having a silly little bit of single track between it and the duplication into Bacchus Marsh would be even more ridiculous .
With the promised 40 minute Ballarat Off Peak service and the proposed single line to Wendouree with the only crossing point between Millbrook and Wendouree being Ballarat station , the thing will still involve crosses at Ballarat as it is impossible to do a return trip from Millbrook to Wendouree and back within 40 minutes allowing for a safe turnaround time at Wendouree .