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WARRNAMBOOL will have a second railway platform by March making catching the train easier for residents in the city's east.
Minister for Transport, Peter Batchelor, announced a $466,000 contract for civil works had been awarded to Camberwell company Ascon Engineering.
The total cost of Deakin Station will be $1 million, a far greater figure than the $250,000 quoted in 2002.
A site was chosen on the Melbourne to Warrnambool line between the Sherwood Road Deakin University entrance level crossing and the Mahoneys Road level crossing.
Ascon Engineering construction manager Masood Chapneviss said civil work should begin next month. The 140-metre platform will have wheelchair access, shelter and lighting.
Signalling and other work would also be required.
"At the moment we are at the design stage and we are hoping to be able to start mid to late October," Mr Chapneviss said.
"Unfortunately, as we know, Christmas is coming but if everything goes well it should be finished by February or March of next year."
Mr Chapneviss said Ascon Engineering aimed to complete the platform before the first 2006 university semester began.
Mr Batchelor said initially only two of Vine's existing train services, to Melbourne on Friday evenings and from Melbourne on Sunday nights, would stop at Deakin Station.
The Department of Infrastructure would consider adding new services when there was sufficient demand.
"This will be welcome news for the thousands of students and staff who visit Deakin's Warrnambool campus," Mr Batchelor said.
"We are working to build a transport service that will allow students and staff at the university to be able to get down to Melbourne or the sights of Victoria's south-west coast."
"Gillin Park residents will also welcome the new train services once the station is complete."
South West Coast MP Denis Napthine said he was glad the long-planned platform would soon be a reality.
"I just want it built and we don't want a Taj Mahal," he said.
"Initially it was going to be a very modest platform but they have got carried away with it."
Dr Napthine said the initial timetable was based on a survey that found Deakin staff and students would hardly use the platform during the week.
As east Warrnambool and Allansford expanded there may be a need for more trains to stop at Deakin Station, he said.
The Warrnambool Standard
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