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Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Funding boost means more rail services for Victoria’s suburbs

The number of trains for Wendouree passengers will more than double from Sunday 9 October following a government funding boost, Minister for Public Transport Terry Mulder announced on Tuesday.

V/Line has been given the go-ahead to extend 85 existing weekly Ballarat trains to and from Wendouree Station – resulting in more station staff, extended ticket office hours and greater flexibility for the people of Wendouree, Lake Gardens, Alfredton and surrounds.

Mr Mulder said the Coalition Government’s funding of $470,000 towards the timetable overhaul would see a greater choice of trains starting and finishing at Wendouree, particularly in the middle of the day, late at night and on weekends.

“Most Ballarat trains will soon stop at Wendouree Station making it an attractive place for people to leave the car rather than drive to Ballarat Station where parking is at a premium,” Mr Mulder said.

“With more than a doubling of weekend trains for Wendouree passengers, going to cricket or special events in Melbourne will allow people to catch the train for the entire journey.

“The extension of late night trains in particular means saying goodbye to the cost of a cab or the hassle of getting picked up from Ballarat Station.”

Currently the last weekday train to Wendouree leaves Southern Cross at 6:24pm. The latest Melbourne departures will soon be 9:54pm on Monday to Thursdays or 11:24pm on Fridays.

“Good public transport in regional Victoria is vital to the wellbeing of local communities. By injecting almost half a million dollars towards these improvements, the people of Wendouree will benefit enormously.”

Mr Mulder said as many trains as possible from Ballarat to Wendouree had been extended.

The single track at Wendouree Station combined with a limited amount of drivers meant some trains still had to start and finish at Ballarat.

“As more drivers come onboard and infrastructure improvements are considered, V/Line has the potential to extend even more trains through to Ballarat in the future.”

“We’re seeing record numbers travelling on V/Line and yet parking is still sufficient at Wendouree. It makes perfect sense to extend as many trains as possible to this station.”

Weekday commuters use about half of the 200 car spots available.

V/Line CEO Rob Barnett said as a result of the extra services, the station opening hours would be extended.

“Two extra station staff will be employed so that we can open the ticket office hours from 5am until 8.30pm Monday to Friday, and until 9pm on the weekend,” Mr Barnett said.

“The ticket office currently shuts at 2pm and is closed over the weekend, so this will offer people a greater opportunity to buy their tickets, with the added security benefit of a staff presence at night.”

“The station opened in June 2009 with 63 weekly services mainly during peak times and demand for extra trains has steadily grown. From 9 October we will see 158 trains per week at Wendouree.”

“More than 71,000 people have joined the train at Wendouree since we started operating services. In August 2011, there was an increase of nearly 10% when compared to August 2010, and an increase of 31% since it first opened.”

“Ballarat’s west is growing rapidly, particularly around Alfredton and the new suburb of Lucas. It’s important we keep improving our trains to meet new demand.”

A new timetable will be available online from late September and from staffed stations in early October. All train times remain the same on the Ballarat line, except with the addition of the new Wendouree services.

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