Caroline Springs’ newly built train station is slated for a $4.9 million redesign before it is even open to the public.
The state government recently ordered the redesign of the single- platform station to accommodate the $518 million duplication of the Ballarat line to Melton. The station was meant to be operating later this year but that has now been pushed back to early next year.
Public Transport Victoria’s acting chief executive, Jeroen Weimar, said the extension would ensure the station can handle an expected 1500 passengers a day.
Patronage is estimated to grow to 4100 passengers daily by 2031.
News of the delay has received mixed responses on a Caroline Springs residents’ Facebook page.
“Talk about a waste of money … The builder must be loving it. Also did they think of improving the roads around that area before they built this station?” one post said.
Another post called for commuters to be patient.
“There’s a lot of angry people here,” it read.
“You all should feel happy there’s a station going up. Wait a few extra months to make it bigger and better – big deal! Look at the suburbs that have been around for over 40 years and only recently got a station.”
Mr Weimar said the Caroline Springs station is being “future-proofed” to prepare for duplication of the Ballarat line.
The station’s redesign, provided for in the 2016-17 state budget, now includes the centre island platform, upgraded buildings to allow for a staffed station and improved facilities for passengers including larger under-cover waiting areas and toilets.
Public Transport Minister Jacinta Allan said doing the work now would reduce disruption in future.
“The population of Caroline Springs is just booming,” she said.
“This has been a project that’s been planned for some time. It was first planned and funded for in 2009 but, disappointingly, four years were lost when it was later dropped.
“We’ve got the project up and running again and we recognise that it needs a little extra work so that it not only caters for the commuters who need it now but also those that we know are coming in future years.
“I think it’s a better outcome in the long term.”
The redesigned Caroline Springs station is expected to be completed in early 2017.
The V/Line service will stop at Deer Park, Ardeer, Sunshine and Footscray, and finally, at Southern Cross.
PTV will introduce a new rail timetable, and consult with the community about introducing a better bus network for Caroline Springs to service more areas, more frequently, with better connections to train services.