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Attention train fans - get to Bungaree on Sunday evening to see the very last V/Line service use the soon-to-be-decommissioned Bungaree loop.
Ahead of a month of bus replacements while the $500 million Ballarat Line Upgrade is finished, the final passenger train to use the loop will be the 19.11 Southern Cross service from Wendouree, which is expected to cross Bungaree at 7.25pm on Sunday.
The loop will officially close the following day when works begin - tracks, boomgates, and signalling will then be removed, as well as five level crossings at Bungaree, Wallace, and Millbrook.
The line for the Bungaree passing loop was first established in 1879 and used as a branch line from Ballarat to Gordon.
In 1889 it formed part of the original alignment of the Melbourne to Ballarat line.
In 2005, as part of the Regional Fast Rail project, a new direct rail line was opened from Millbrook to Dunnstown, providing travel savings for trains on the Ballarat Line.
This left the Bungaree passing loop to carry deviated train services, allowing trains to pass each other on the line.
A new passing loop has been built at Millbrook which will allow for faster services.
It is not yet known what will happen to the old line, with some suggesting it become a rail trail.
A number of roads will be closed during construction, including at each of the level crossings, as well as the Geelong-Ballan Road and Old Geelong Road in Ballan and some roads in Bacchus Marsh.
Trains are expected to resume in February, with a new, more frequent timetable to be announced on January 8.
State Transport Infrastructure Minister Jacinta Allan said in a statement the loop had played an "important role" for more than a century.
"New passing loops at Ballan and Millbrook will come into use at the end of January as part of the Ballarat Line Upgrade, delivering more services and improving reliability on the line by allowing trains to recover quickly from unexpected delays," she said.
Temporary road closures will be in place on the following dates at the level crossing locations:
Coaches will replace trains on sections of the Ballarat, Ararat and Maryborough lines from Sunday evening until Saturday, January 30 as part of the final phase of the Ballarat Line Upgrade.
Coaches will run between Southern Cross and Ballarat/Wendouree from 10pm on Sunday, December 27 until Saturday, January 2 and again from Friday, 22 until Saturday, January 30.
From Sunday, January 3 until Thursday, January 21, coaches will run between Melton and Ballarat/Wendouree connecting with trains between Melton and Melbourne.
Coaches will replace all Ararat and Maryborough line trains for the entire journey from Monday, December 28 to Saturday, January 30.
This article first appeared on www.thecourier.com.au
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