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MAJOR construction works on the $130 million upgrade of the Ballarat line for the Fast Rail project have been completed.
Despite the milestone, it is unclear when passenger trains will roll out on the line.
A spokeswoman for works contractor Thiess ALSTOM Joint Venture yesterday said trains were able to return to the track.
But V/Line has declined to reveal an exact date with a spokesman stating services would resume in early July.
The works, finished at the weekend, were the biggest upgrade to the rail corridor since its construction more than 100 years ago.
The event comes after Transport Minister Peter Batchelor last month unveiled the sleek new V'Locity trains, which will reach speeds of up to 160kmh, as part of the Fast Rail project.
The project will deliver a 64-minute service between Ballarat and Melbourne, replacing the current 82-minute journey.
Under the works, more than 62km of track and 29 level crossings have been upgraded while about eight kilometres of new track have been laid at several locations.
More than 93,000 concrete sleepers have been laid and 180,000 tonnes of ballast spread, while minor bridge works were carried out in 18 locations and new bridges were constructed in Ballan, Gordon and Millbrook.
Thiess ALSTOM Joint Venture project manager Jason Spears said the on-schedule completion was the result of more than 450 people working seven days a week and sometimes around the clock.
"The outstanding progress achieved in the last 10 weeks is the result of the commitment and dedication from all members of our team - subcontractors, consultants and staff and the over 100 local suppliers - to completing the rail upgrade within the assigned
period to ensure passenger services were returned as quickly as possible."
The final week of construction focused on preparing the track between Bacchus Marsh and Ballarat for the return of passenger services, using trains to help settle the track and test signals.
A series of smaller line closures will take place, with completion of upgrade works expected mid next year.
The remaining works will include the installation of the new signalling system, improved safety measures at level crossings and pedestrian cribs.
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