Ararat railway station is located on the Serviceton and Western standard gauge lines, in Victoria, Australia. It serves the town of Ararat, and opened on 7 April 1875. It is also the junction for the Ararat – Maryborough line.
Ararat has two platform faces. The full length standard gauge platform is on the north side with broad gauge trains using a bay platform on the south side. There is a railway grade crossing approximately 500 metres east of the station to allow the broad gauge to continue east towards Beaufort and Ballarat, while the standard gauge heads south towards Geelong.
A dead end siding is located to the east for stabling broad gauge passenger trains while across from the main platform are two standard gauge loops and one dead end siding.
The railway first reached Ararat from Ballarat on 7 April 1875. The line south to Portland opened in December 1877, and the mainline was extended west, reaching the South Australian border at Serviceton, in January 1887. The line to Maryborough opened in 1890. Two signal boxes ('A' and 'B') opened in 1891, and in 1914, the goods sidings were extended, with the locomotive depot built soon after.
In the late 1930s, the locomotive depot was expanded, in conjunction with the arrival of the new H class 4-8-4 steam locomotives, intended for use on The Overland passenger train. An 85 feet (26 m) turntable was installed with 24 roads around it, the largest on the Victorian Railways network. Before this time, Stawell was the major servicing facility in the region.
During 1985, the passenger facilities in the main station building were refurbished. However, during this time, rationalisation of the facilities began; the "B" box was demolished in 1984, and the train control office followed in 1988. The former footbridge, which was located at the Up end of the station, was destroyed by a derailment in May 1986. The former Mobil siding and associated points and staff lock were abolished in January 1988. The locomotive depot closed in 1989, with 'A' box following in 1996. Gauge conversion also occurred at the station in the 1990s, with the main line to Adelaide converted to standard gauge, as part of the One Nation project. The lines west and south were converted, with the line to Maryborough converted to dual gauge soon after.
The former main line to Ballarat had services suspended in April 1995, and was left as broad gauge. V/Line passenger services westward to Dimboola had earlier been withdrawn on 21 August 1993, with the Ballarat to Ararat service withdrawn on 27 May 1994.
On 11 July 2004, the line to Ballarat was reopened, with V/Line passenger services reinstated. The contract for the works was awarded in February 2003, and required a diamond crossing and signalling to be installed, to allow the broad gauge line to reach the platform. The Maryborough line was booked out of use in January 2005.
From December 2019, the line now includes a stop at the new Cobblebank station.
Re-opening of the Maryborough to Ararat rail freight line
The Maryborough to Ararat rail freight line was officially re-opened at Avoca early in 2018 after more than 13 years of sitting idle.
Platforms & services
- Southern Cross V/Line services to
Christans Bus Service/Ararat transit operates six bus services from the station.
- 1 Ararat Station to Ararat West Via Brewster Road
- 2 Ararat Station to Ararat South Via Burke Street
- 3 Ararat Station to Ararat North Via Baird Street
- Ararat Station to Maryborough Elmhurst, Avoca
- Ararat Station to Hopkins Correctional Centre
- Ararat - Lake Bolac via Willaura
- Ararat Vicsig
- ARTC system maps: Victoria Western Line Australian Rail Track Corporation
- The Ararat Story Royal Historical Society of Victoria
- Lee, Robert (2007). The Railways of Victoria 1854–2004. Melbourne University Publishing. p. 164. ISBN 978-0-522-85134-2.
- "Works". Newsrail. Australian Railway Historical Society. May 1985. p. 147.
- "Works". Newsrail. Australian Railway Historical Society. August 1986. p. 249.
- "Works". Newsrail. Australian Railway Historical Society. April 1988. p. 123.
- Chris Banger (March 1997). "Rail Passenger Service Withdrawals Since 1960". Newsrail. Australian Railway Historical Society. pp. 77–82.
- "Action-Packed Day to Welcome Trains Back to Ararat". Media Release: Minister for Public Transport. www.legislation.vic.gov.au. 5 July 2004. Archived from the original on 1 October 2011. Retrieved 1 August 2008.
- Ararat sleepers awake to new sound—the train The Age 10 July 2004
- "$20 Million Contract Signed to Re-open Ararat & Bairnsdale Rail Lines". Media Release: Minister for Public Transport. www.legislation.vic.gov.au. 3 February 2003. Archived from the original on 14 September 2009. Retrieved 1 August 2008.
- "Rail freight is back on the Maryborough-Ararat line". The Courier. 13 January 2018. Retrieved 16 July 2018.
- Ararat–Melbourne Public Transport Victoria
- The Overland Timetable 3 January 2021 Journey Beyond
- Ararat–Ballarat Public Transport Victoria
- Warrnambool–Ararat Public Transport Victoria
- Nhill–Ararat Public Transport Victoria
- "Ararat transit launched". Ararat Advertiser. yourguide.com.au. 13 May 2008. Archived from the original on 22 July 2008. Retrieved 1 August 2008.
- "Ararat 1 Ararat West via Brewster Road & Lowe Road". Public Transport Victoria.
- "Ararat 2 Ararat South via Burke Road & Churchill Avenue". Public Transport Victoria.
- "Ararat 3 Ararat North via Baird Street & NMIT & Alfred Street". Public Transport Victoria.
- "Ararat - Maryborough via Elmhurst & Avoca". Public Transport Victoria.
- "Ararat Station - Hopkins Correctional Centre". Public Transport Victoria.
- "Ararat - Lake Bolac via Willaura". Public Transport Victoria.