Ballarat line feels the heat

Extreme heat is being blamed for a dip in performance on the Ballarat line in the past two months.

V/Line data for January shows that 83.5 per cent of services arrived at their destinations on time, compared with 86.3 in November.

Hot weather is also being blamed for December’s lower than usual punctuality of 83.9 per cent.

But the Ballarat line performed better than the state average. Across the V/Line network, 80.2 per cent of services arrived at their destinations on time in January.

Reliability on the Ballarat line was 95.1 per cent in January – slightly up on the previous month. Across the network, 94.3 per cent of services were delivered for the month.

V/Line chief executive James Pinder said that when the temperature reached 36 degrees, trains were slowed to 90km/h and some services replaced by coaches.

“Safety is our number one priority, so heat-speed restrictions are enforced on really hot days because the steel tracks expand in the heat,” Mr Pinder said.

“We’re working to do everything we can to minimise disruptions to passengers during the summer months.”

Works on the Ballarat line upgrade ramped up over the Australia Day weekend, with site preparation complete and safety fencing installed so that the 18-kilometre track duplication between Deer Park West and Melton can begin.