Brimbank council hopes the $518 million Ballarat railway line duplication between Melton and Deer Park will include upgrades to the “embarrassing” Ardeer and Deer Park stations.
Chairman of Brimbank administrators John Watson welcomed the state budget funding but said he hoped it would also include the removal of level crossings at Mt Derrimut and Fitzgerald roads.
“It’s important this project sees the removal of grade crossings at Mt Derrimut Road and Fitzgerald Road and the upgrade of Deer Park and Ardeer train stations to a metropolitan standard,” he said.
“It’s an embarrassment to have country- standard stations at Deer Park and Ardeer, which are major metropolitan areas of the City of Brimbank.
“The duplication and electrification of the rail line to Melton is one of the key transport priorities for which Brimbank has been advocating for a long time.
“This duplication of the Ballarat railway line from Deer Park to Melton will enable electrification of the railway line, which Brimbank would also like to see occur as soon as possible to provide the community with a ‘metropolitan’ level of service.”
Deer Park crossing delays
Star Weekly revealed last November that motorists and pedestrians were illegally crossing railway tracks near Deer Park station because gates were down for up to 40 minutes.
In a letter to Western Metropolitan MP Bernie Finn, Deer Park resident Daniel Attard said there was an “escalating safety issue” at the Mount Derrimut Road crossing.
Sunshine police’s Acting Inspector Brenda Bagally confirmed safety at the level crossing was an “ongoing issue”.
The state government expects to spend about $31 million in the next financial year, $196.4 million in 2017-18, $268.7 in 2018-19, and more than $20 million in the 2019-20 financial year for the Ballarat line duplication.
The package of works will allow for two extra services on the line during morning and afternoon peaks, and a train every 40 minutes during off-peak.
There was no financial commitment in last week’s state budget to electrify the line. Funding will be provided to plan a business case study for its electrification in the future.