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The state government claims major construction is finished on the Ballarat line following the $500 million upgrade - but there's still a lot of work to do before trains can use it.
The Courier went on a road trip with independent rail advocate Nick Beale, who said he had seen several locations that were partially unfinished or had yet to be started.
These include level crossings near Ballan, sections of track missing at new passing loops, and connections with platforms at stations.
In December, Regional Rail Revival announced "major construction" was complete, but there was still commissioning work to be done before a new timetable could be released with promised extra services to and from Ballarat - every 20 minutes in peak, and every 40 minutes in off-peak.
However, Mr Beale said it was clear major construction was not finished.
The passing loop at Millbrook, for example, was visibly unfinished - he said there were signal gantries without signals and gaps in the track at both ends.
"At the new Bungaree passing loop, what we're seeing here is the interchange is almost complete, not quite - there's a few metres of rail to go in," he said.
"We also see that while the gantry is up for the (signalling) there's no lights there, so one assumes there's a fair amount of cabling and signalling to be done on this portion."
The state government is working on a fix, but no timeframe was given - there will be further interruptions as commissioning, and driver training and final safety tests, are completed.
Further up the line, outside Ballan, two level crossings have unfinished tracks on either side.
Mission accomplished: Nick Beale points out a V/Line poster at Ballan station which states major works are now complete.
"There's still quite a bit of construction to do, they've got to cut across the road for the second train line, they've got to move the signalling," he said.
"I don't see how that's a massive amount of work compared to the whole project, but that, for me, needs to get done really quickly and I don't see why it should take that long."
This article first appeared on www.thecourier.com.au
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