this was in the Ballarat Courier on the weekend
Ballarat-Maryborough rail line reopens
13 Jun, 2010 11:09 PM
MOTORISTS are urged to be cautious as V/Line passenger trains return to the Ballarat-Maryborough line today for the first time in 20 years.
Track works are nearly complete and driver training will start today.
It will run over several weeks.
The training means locomotives will be up and down the line at speeds of up to 80km/h.
While freight trains have used the line, passenger trains will travel faster and more regularly through the day.
V/Line spokesman James Kelly said drivers needed to be aware of the trains and rules around crossings should be obeyed.
Meanwhile, V/Line says it is disappointed with Ballarat City Council's decision last week not to close three crossings at Tourello and Bald Hills.
The transport provider wanted the crossings closed, saying they would pose an unacceptable risk to passengers and the public with commuter trains returning to the line.
But dozens of landholders and local emergency services lobbied hard to ensure the crossings stayed open, saying it was vital to carry out their farming safely and for easy access to properties during fires.
V/Line said despite the decision it will work with council proactively.
With 42 level crossings along the Ballarat-Maryborough line, V/Line has funding to upgrade 11 of them.
Mr Kelly said they now needed to find the money to upgrade the crossings and would discuss other options with council.
Upgrading may include road realignment, with the potential to realign Tourello Road, where its rail crossing sits at a 45 degree angle.
"Council have a very big role to play with level crossing safety and they had a significant opportunity to do that," Mr Kelly said.
"Ultimately because they're not being closed now, the trains will have to go slower and be speed restricted for safety reasons."