The Ballarat V/Line rail service is a regional passenger rail service operated by V/Line in Victoria, Australia. It serves passengers between state capital Melbourne and the regional city of Ballarat. Beyond Ballarat it changes name to the Ararat railway line and the Maryborough railway line.
V/Line once operated services to Horsham and Dimboola. Several rail stations such as Gordon and Warrenheip were closed in October 1981 as part of the New Deal timetable. All services beyond Ballarat were withdrawn on 27 May 1994, and in 1995 the One Nation Program regauged the line beyond Ararat. The broad-gauge line between Ballarat and Ararat was closed to all traffic, with the broad-gauge passenger service from Ballarat to Ararat not reinstated until 2004 under the Linking Victoria program.
In November 2004, Premier of Victoria Steve Bracks announced that the line would be renamed the Eureka Line to mark the 150th anniversary of the Eureka uprising. Due to take effect from late 2005 at the same time as the renaming of Spencer Street station to Southern Cross. The renaming was criticised by groups such as the Public Transport Users Association, and was never carried out.
By 2009, a total of 48,000 passengers or an average of 1,000 per week were using the line between Ballarat and Ararat.
- An upgrade of the line began in early 2018 with major construction completed in late 2019. The project, with a budget of $518 million, saw the duplication of 17 kilometres of track between Deer Park West and Melton, upgrade stations at Rockbank, Bacchus Marsh and Ballan, and added a new station at Cobblebank, also adding passing loops at Bacchus Marsh, Ballan and near Bungaree. It paves the way for the future electrification of the line to Melton. The upgrade has enabled extra services in the morning and afternoon peaks between Melbourne and Ballarat.
V/Line operates an average half-hourly passenger services along the line. Half terminate at Bacchus Marsh with every second one continuing through to Wendouree (four of these also extending to Ararat station and two to Maryborough.
To alleviate capacity constraints on the single track section, one Ballarat to Melbourne service in the evening peak is provided by a road coach.
V/Line operates passenger trains on the Ararat line to and from Southern Cross station in Melbourne, as well as three road coach services connecting with buses at Ballarat. Roughly half the number of services run towards Maryborough.
Beyond Ballarat the line is classified by V/Line as an Intercity service, so seat reservations are no longer required. Many services run as limited expresses between Ballarat and Melbourne.
On 16 July 2014, V/Line trains between Melbourne and Ararat ceased stopping at as part of the Regional Rail Link project.
The majority of the line is single track, with the exception of:
- double track between Melbourne, Sunshine and Melton. The North line is restricted to 130 km/h operation and the South line to 160 km/h. This is only between Sunshine and Caroline Springs. This is a remnant of Regional Fast Rail's bidirectional, different-speed signalling.
- Parwan Loop, between Melton and Bacchus Marsh stations, located before the descent into Bacchus Marsh
- a short crossing loop at Rowsley (completed mid 2016)
- Bank Box Loop, between Bacchus Marsh and Ballan stations, located atop the Werribee Gorge
- a long crossing loop near Bungaree, between Ballan and Ballarat. The two tracks take different routes, one being the original line via Bungaree, the other being a new deviation built as part of the Regional Fast Rail project.
Bold stations are termini, where some train services terminate; italic stations are staffed, at least part-time:
Ararat V/Line Service
Standard timetabled journey
from Southern Cross
- Annual Report 2016-17. V/Line Corporation. June 2017. p. 14. Retrieved 1 February 2018.
- "Train Operating Data: Deer Park Junction to Ararat". Network service plan. V/Line Corporation. 25 October 2017. p. 4. Archived from the original on 3 February 2018. Retrieved 1 February 2018.
- "Passenger Schedules: Western Up". Network service plan. V/Line Corporation. 10 December 2017. Archived from the original on 3 February 2018. Retrieved 1 February 2018.
- "Train Operating Data: Deer Park Junction to Ararat". Network service plan. V/Line Corporation. 25 October 2017. p. 1. Archived from the original on 3 February 2018. Retrieved 1 February 2018.
- "Train Operating Data: Deer Park Junction to Ararat". Network service plan. V/Line Corporation. 25 October 2017. p. 5. Archived from the original on 3 February 2018. Retrieved 1 February 2018.
- "Passenger Schedules: South Western Down". Network service plan. V/Line Corporation. 10 December 2017. Archived from the original on 3 February 2018. Retrieved 1 February 2018.
- Annual Report for year ended 30 June 2014 Archived 2 April 2015 at the Wayback Machine V/Line
- VictorianRailways.net - VR Timeline
- Eureka Rail Line to Open Exciting new era for Regional Rail Premier of Victoria 25 November 2004
- More name changes:Ballarat this time PTUA News Volume 28 Issue 6 December 2004
- Ballarat's new train station to officially open ABC News 12 June 2009
- Maryborough Rail Services Victorian Transport Plan
- Passenger trains return to Maryborough The Courier 25 July 2010
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 6 July 2011. Retrieved 2010-09-24.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- "Ballarat Line Upgrade website". Ballarat Line Upgrade. 24 July 2017. Retrieved 1 August 2017.
- Pollock, Michael (27 April 2016). ""$518m commitment to Ballarat rail line"". The Ballarat Courier. Retrieved 1 August 2017.
- Pollock, Michael (27 April 2016). "$518m commitment to Ballarat rail line"". The Ballarat Courier. Retrieved 1 August 2017.
- Ballarat timetable Archived 12 March 2015 at the Wayback Machine V/Line 26 November 2017
- "Ararat line timetable". www.vline.com.au. Archived from the original on 22 July 2012. Retrieved 4 June 2012.
- New train station announced in Toolern precinct Archived 12 January 2018 at the Wayback Machine City of Melton 3 November 2017
- New Train Station for Melbourne's Growing West Minister for Public Transport 3 November 2017
- Another station coming to Melbourne's west Rail Express 6 November 2017
- "Cobblebank Station To Open In Early December". Premier of Victoria. 22 October 2019. Retrieved 28 October 2019.
- "Rowsley Crossing Loop - Public Transport Victoria". Archived from the original on 13 February 2016. Retrieved 12 February 2016.
- Train Operating Data: Deer Park to Ararat Archived 27 March 2015 at the Wayback Machine V/Line 21 October 2014