News | Metro Trains

Contributing to a better Melbourne

12 Mar 2021, James Ireland
Metro Trains has released its latest Corporate Responsibility & Sustainability Report, outlining key initiatives to support a more sustainable Melbourne. Underpinning the report are programs of work that are contributing to social responsibility, environment sustainability and economic prosperity. Amparo Hassan, the Flinders Street Station staff member who is the face of the report, joined Metro colleagues for a special launch event. The Corporate Responsibility & Sustainability Report 2019/20 details how Metro adapted to the evolving COVID-19 pandemic by continuing to operate a full timetable to keep essential workers moving. A comprehensive train and station cleaning program also ensured passengers and employees were kept safe on their journey. Other initiatives outlined in the report include: Investigating and implementing ways to improve energy efficiency, and partnering with the Department of Transport on emissions reduction and climate change adaptation initiatives. A Biodiversity Management Program to protect ecological values at more than 30 sites of ecological significance. Supporting engineering cadets into jobs as part of the Engineering Pathways Cadetship Program. The development of a Social Inclusion and Aboriginal Employment Strategy; and The Metro Cares Community Grants program, supporting local organisations and charities that foster community connection. Metro’s CEO Raymond O’Flaherty says, “We’re incredibly proud of the innovation drive we’re seeing across our business to ensure we play our part in the sustainability of public transport in Melbourne. “Our teams are doing great work to drive down our water and energy use, adapt to the challenges of climate change, and preserve and protect natural environments that are touched by our rail network. “Metro has an important responsibility and genuine opportunity to contribute to a more liveable, inclusive and sustainable city.” You can access Metro’s Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability Report 2019/20 here.

Stopping trespassers in their tracks

10 Mar 2021, James Ireland
As more Melburnians return to public transport a joint operation between Metro Trains and Victoria Police is cracking down on illegal, dangerous and disruptive trespassing. The operation throughout March aims to catch trespassers in the act, educate people about safe behaviours on the railway, and keep services running reliably for those who depend on them. Authorised Officers from Metro’s Network Security and Surveillance team and the Victoria Police Transit Division will focus their efforts on key trespassing hotspots in the city’s west, east and north including Werribee to Hoppers Crossing; Yarraville; Bayswater to Boronia; and Craigieburn to Coolaroo.

Journey info a the tip of your fingers

19 Feb 2021, James Ireland
New smartphone technology lets you make informed choices about how and when you travel on Melbourne’s trains. After months of extensive testing and trials, the new online tool called RideSpace provides real-time information for passengers on Metro’s trains – showing how busy, or quiet, the train journey will be before boarding. RideSpace is now available via a dedicated website – and its capacity data will soon be made available in third party journey planning apps to help passengers make informed choices about travelling safely on the network. The tool shows the current and predicted level of busyness for trains, stations and platforms to support public health settings and help passengers decide which service they are comfortable using. RideSpace was launched alongside the new train timetable, which provides 280 more services each week around Melbourne. Until the end of April a 30 per cent fare discount is available for Metro passengers travelling outside of peak periods. The off-peak discount will be automatically applied to myki fares for passengers touching off between 9.30am and 4pm or after 7pm on weekdays.

Train driving brings balance to a busy life

18 Feb 2021, James Ireland
Raising three kids and driving a train is all in a day’s work for Wendy Abraham. After working in finance for 14 years, Ms Abraham wanted an end to long days in the office to give her more work-life balance – so she turned her hand to the controls of Metro’s trains. “A lot of my family time was going to work, and the family-life balance wasn’t quite where I wanted it to be,’’ Ms Abraham said. “I went for it and here I am today – as happy as ever. I love it. The family-life balance I’ve gotten in this job I’ve never had. I do permanent mornings, and although they’re earlier, it works for me.” As Melbourne’s rail network continues to transform, more drivers are needed to get Melburnians where they need to go. The recent introduction of a new train timetable, and state-of-the-art High Capacity Metro Trains, means Metro is hiring up to 50 new part-time drivers. Bringing more women into the rail industry remains a key focus. Today, women make up around about 30 per cent of Metro’s train drivers, and Ms Abraham is encouraging everyone interested in a career change to consider driving trains for Metro. “You just have to have the ability to stay calm, work under time constraints, and most importantly – you’ve got to own an alarm clock!” Metro’s CEO Raymond O’Flaherty says, “There’s more diversity in our drivers’ ranks than ever before – something we’re incredibly proud of.” “These new part-time train driver positions provide great flexibility and competitive pay – as we look to bring on the best possible talent to keep our city moving.”

Have you ever lost something on a train?

3 Feb 2021, James Ireland
Well, you’re not alone. Every year Metro collects about 24,000 pieces of lost property – all of which are carefully logged to make it as easy as possible to reunite the rightful owner with their precious belongings. Flinders Street Stationmaster George Panoussis says Metro’s new lost property management system is making it easier than ever to reunite owners and their items. Before 2020, lost property from across the entire Metro network was centrally held at Flinders Street Station. Now, lost property is held at the station where the item was originally found. Metro carefully logs every item with a description and the location where it was picked up. This means if you’ve lost something, you can go to any station and speak to staff, who can look it up and tell you where to collect it. Mr Panoussis says the most common item found on trains and at stations are phones, tablets, and people’s lunches. He says there are also some more bizarre items found, including mannequin parts and wigs. Throughout his 32-year career in the rail industry, Mr Panoussis says cash is also a common item of lost property, and the vast majority of it gets handed in to Metro staff. “I think people are very honest, and are willing to hand in lost property items when they are found. “I personally found over $500 in a pensioner’s wallet, and knowing that money is everything to them, they were reunited with it within half an hour.” Metro keeps lost property for 60 days. If items are unclaimed after this time, and could be of potential value, they get donated to charitable organisations including the Salvation Army and the Australian Red Cross.

The biggest timetable change in 40 years

1 Feb 2021, James Ireland
The biggest train timetable change in 40 years is giving Metro passengers more travel options and added flexibility to get into and around Melbourne. The new timetable, which launched on 31 January, adds 280 additional Metro services every week. The last timetable change of this scale happened back in 1981 when the City Loop first opened. Some of the major changes include: · Frankston Line trains will not run through the City Loop until the Metro Tunnel opens in 2025. · Cranbourne/Pakenham Line trains will travel in one direction – anticlockwise from Parliament to Flinders Street – through the Loop all day. A new metropolitan timetable also brings discounted fares for train commuters. There is a 30 per cent discount for passengers who travel outside of peak periods, giving people more confidence to return to public transport, and encouraging travel either side of the busy morning and afternoon peak periods. The off-peak discount will be in place for the next three months, automatically providing 30 per cent off myki fares for passengers touching off between 9.30am and 4pm or after 7pm on weekdays. The new timetable includes new services that provide greater frequency outside of peak periods on most metropolitan train lines to get people where they need to go. The changes are helping people stay safe on public transport while our city recovers from the impacts of COVID-19. Full details of the new timetable can be found here.

Communication makes train travel easier

22 Jan 2021, James Ireland
Getting Melburnians where they need to go safely is Metro’s job each and every day. In 2019, we worked hard to become the largest rail operator in the world to be accredited with the Communication Access Symbol. The accreditation demonstrates Metro’s commitment to making train services accessible to everyone by equipping passenger-facing employees with the skills and strategies to assist people who have communication difficulties. Around 2,500 Metro employees took part in more than 300 training sessions, teaching them how best to give transport advice and assistance to people with additional needs. Metro’s Accessibility and Inclusion manager Laura Edwards says, “Public transport is for everyone – no matter who you are. It’s our responsibility to make sure that everyone in the community has equal access. “By teaching thousands of Metro staff how they can most effectively provide travel advice to people with communication difficulties, we’re taking away a barrier that may have previously prevented them from using our service. I’m very proud of the hard work it took to get here. “It’s been just over a year since we received the accreditation, and I know that it’s helped us to better understand our passengers who face these challenges. It’s also made sure they have a better and easier train journey – and that’s what it’s all about.” All of this was delivered alongside Scope’s Communication Access Trainers who worked tirelessly to deliver training to Metro train drivers, Authorised Officers and station staff. It’s been more than a year since Metro was accredited with the Communication Access Symbol, and to mark the milestone, Scope told us what the symbol and the associated training has meant to them.  

No barriers to success for Metro’s Authorised Officers

18 Jan 2021, James Ireland
Metro has continued to train new Authorised Officers who are now out on the network supporting a safer journey for passengers. Eight women who previously faced barriers to employment have become members of Metro’s Authorised Officer (AO) team. The women from asylum seeker, refugee, and long-term unemployed backgrounds were recruited through Metro’s Socially Responsible Employment program. Husnia, originally from Afghanistan, fled with her family to Pakistan two decades ago. She arrived in Melbourne two years ago and immediately knew she would be happy with her peaceful life in Australia. “After the initial culture shock of coming to Australia, I felt like I was in paradise. The most important thing for my family is that our life is peaceful here. “I love my job as an Authorised Officer, it’s what I’ve wanted to do for a long time. It gives me the lifestyle I want and I get to be out on the train network helping people.” The new recruits completed an intensive 10-week training program including classroom, in-field and scenario based learning, with a strong focus on safety and improving the passenger experience on the network. All AOs are trained to assist vulnerable passengers on the network, including those fleeing family violence or experiencing homelessness – adversity that some of the trainees personally faced prior to joining Metro. Between them, the women speak seven different languages – including Dari, Hindi, Punjabi, Somali, Urdu and Amharic. In the past financial year Metro has recruited 45 people who previously faced barriers to employment.

Support for charities helping Melbourne’s Covid-19 response

13 Jan 2021, James Ireland
Charities on the frontline of Melbourne’s COVID-19 response and recovery are getting a $5,000 boost thanks to Metro Trains’ community grants program. These are the five charities chosen to receive the grants. Foodbank Victoria Foodbank Victoria sustainably source food and key grocery items and distribute to vulnerable Victorians across the state. The demand for food relief has significantly increased due to the impacts of COVID-19. This grant will enable Foodbank Victoria to distribute 10,000 meals to those facing economic hardship and food insecurity. Foodbank Victoria CEO Dave McNamara says, “It’s been a pretty grim year for Victorians. From bushfires to COVID-19, so many hardworking families have found themselves in situations they never imagined, struggling to afford even the basics. “Thanks to the generosity of supporters like Metro Trains, we’re able to put food on the tables of families doing it tough and hopefully a smile on their face leading into Christmas as well,” says Mr McNamara. Hands on Health Australia This funding would contribute to delivering mental health support to Melbourne’s Aboriginal community. Covid has led to a greater need for mental health support so Hands on Health Australia (HoHA) have set up online and phone support services, ensuring the community is safe and able to access the vital support they need. HoHa CEO Franca Smarrelli says, “Thank you to Metro Trains for supporting HoHA’s community clinic services which support those in much need of health and wellbeing services.” Launch Housing This funding will help Launch Housing deliver essential homelessness services and housing support to disadvantaged Victorians. Throughout the COVID-19 crisis they assisted more than 3,000 people into emergency accommodation – ensuring access to safe housing. The $5,000 grant provides 16 highly vulnerable people with essentials like emergency medication, social worker support, smartphone access, priority COVID-19 screening, clothing, hygiene packs, and food. General Manager of Campaigns and Engagement Howard Rally says, “The number of people rough sleeping in Melbourne is now known to be five times higher than previously thought. “This donation of $5,000 from Metro Trains will assist us in supporting the most vulnerable Melburnians that were sleeping rough during Covid-19, while we strive to find them long-term secure housing. We’re grateful for their support” Lifeline Since March Lifeline have seen a sustained 25 per cent increase to service delivery of its crisis helpline. The $5000 grant will help it answer an additional 128 potentially lifesaving calls. With a call every 30 seconds, being able to access those extra people could mean all the difference in their darkest hour. Lifeline Australia CEO Colin Seery says, “2020 was a year that saw Australian’s reach out to Lifeline more than at any time in our 57-year history. “After the devastation of prolonged drought, bushfires, floods and then COVID-19 restrictions, it’s been a challenging time for many and the support Lifeline offers Australians has been more important and more needed than ever. “I am incredibly proud of our ability to respond and I’m grateful to supporters like Metro Trains who have helped make our response possible.” Safe Steps Family Violence Response Centre Safe Steps is a statewide service for women, young people and children experiencing family violence. When the pandemic hit, a live web chat service was set up so that victim-survivors who had been forced into isolation with perpetrators could still access the help they needed. A $5,000 grant from Metro Trains Melbourne will help provide linen packages for families accessing safe housing. Safe Steps CEO Rita Butera says, “On behalf of Safe Steps Family Violence Response Centre, I would like to thank Metro Trains and their staff for choosing to support our work with this grant. This contribution will help us provide essential crisis services to women and children seeking safety from family violence. “Everyone in our community has a role to play in responding to family violence, and every contribution makes a difference in the lives of the people we support.”

New tools to prevent illegal trespassing

15 Dec 2020, James Ireland
Melbourne’s train network is now using world-class thermal imaging cameras to crack down on illegal trespassing on rail tracks and keep Victorian passengers and train staff safe. A new intruder detection system has been installed in key locations on Metro’s train network, including in the City Loop, to quickly identify and track down people risking their lives and disrupting commuters by illegally entering railway tracks. The system uses a combination of optical distance sensors, thermal imaging and artificial intelligence to detect trespassers, at which point an alarm alerts Metro’s network control centre so security teams and Victoria Police can track their location and swiftly respond. Metro CEO Raymond O’Flaherty says, “Trespassing has a major impact on our ability to deliver the reliable services our passengers deserve. “This new intruder detection system helps us stop illegal trespassers in their tracks, and ensure our network can continue to run efficiently for those who depend on it.” Trespassing is incredibly dangerous and disruptive. People walking on or beside the rail line can be seriously injured or die, and are incredibly disruptive to trains, leading to unnecessary disruption to passengers across the network and impacting the mental health of drivers and frontline staff who witness incidents. Last year there was an average of 328 potentially deadly trespasser incidents each month. The introduction of thermal imaging cameras adds to the Government and Metro’s efforts to deter trespassing – with a network of more than 9,000 CCTV cameras at stations and on trains, and a dedicated Network Security and Surveillance team routinely patrolling hotspots and carrying out joint operations with Victoria Police. Metro has also rolled out anti-trespasser ground panels at known trespassing hotspots – including Keilor Plains, Yarraville, Prahran, Narre Warren and Berwick. Anyone caught illegally trespassing on the Metro network faces a fine of up to $330.

Metro’s trains keep Melbourne moving as restrictions ease

10 Dec 2020, James Ireland
As Melbourne opens up again, and more passengers return to the network, Metro is more focused than ever on delivering safe and reliable services for passengers. In November, Metro ran more than 61,000 services, of which 94.7 per cent of trains on time – well above the 92 per cent target – while 98.7 per cent of scheduled services were delivered. To keep passengers safe, Metro and its contractors are continuing to regularly clean high-touch surfaces across the network, as well as nightly deep-cleaning of trains. Across metropolitan train stations, 149 hand sanitising stations have been installed including 17 dispensers at Southern Cross Station alone. On public transport, passengers must continue to wear a fitted face mask covering their nose and mouth for their entire journey. To ensure Melburnians can get where they need to go public transport services are running to the normal timetable including the Night Network.

280 extra Metro services coming in January

2 Dec 2020, James Ireland
An extra 280 Metro services each week will give passengers more options on their journey and provide more space for physical distancing. Minister for Public Transport Ben Carroll announced that the new services will be added to the network from 31 January 2021. The new timetable will deliver greater frequency around the peak in metropolitan Melbourne, with more trains running during busy morning and afternoon periods to encourage passengers to stagger their weekday travel. To make it easier for Metro passengers to travel during quieter times and physically distance, off-peak fares will be discounted for three months. From 31 January 2021, anyone using myki money between 9.30am and 4pm, or after 7pm on weekdays, will receive a 30 per cent discount. The new services will increase capacity on the Cranbourne, Pakenham, Frankston, Werribee, Williamstown, Upfield, Craigieburn and Sunbury lines during the busiest times each day to prepare the network for the opening of the Metro Tunnel. Cranbourne and Pakenham line passengers will benefit from 90 new services each week. Trains on both lines will travel in an anti-clockwise direction through the City Loop all day to pave the way for Melbourne’s bigger, more modern trains. Frankston Line trains will no longer run via the City Loop until the Metro Tunnel is open in 2025, with passengers instead travelling directly to Flinders Street and Southern Cross, and then on to Werribee. An additional 45 services will be added to the Frankston Line each week. Werribee and Sandringham line weekend services will also leave the City Loop for more consistent services through the week. Extra weekday services on the Craigieburn, Sunbury and Werribee lines will provide passengers with a train at least every 10 minutes for more than three hours in the morning and afternoon peaks – while Williamstown services will extend to Flinders Street on weekends, so people no longer have to change trains at Newport. Separating some of Melbourne’s busiest rail lines enables more services to run and ensures delays on one line don’t spread across the network. To keep passengers safe,  extensive cleaning of all trains, stations and myki facilities will continue across the network, while hand sanitiser units will remain at key stations. Victorians are reminded to always wear a mask when on public transport, never travel when unwell, practise good hygiene and social distancing where possible.

We’re not kidding around – Metro goats are back on weed patrol

26 Nov 2020, James Ireland
With the Victorian fire season just around the corner, Metro Trains’ most famous weed control team, the ‘Puffing Billy Goats’ are making a comeback. After the successful deployment of goats to the Belgrave Line last year, Metro’s Infrastructure team has been busy recruiting for a new site in Upper Ferntree Gully. The goats will chomp their way through some of the network’s most overgrown shrubbery, reducing fuel loads and ensuring native flora and fauna can thrive. Infrastructure Vegetation Manager Katrina Lewis says the four-legged eating machines are effective at eradicating weeds such as blackberry and watsonia, and can reach parts of the network that are difficult to access for human vegetation crews.

Newport Workshops keep Melbourne moving

24 Nov 2020, James Ireland
The Newport Workshops are an icon of the Victorian rail industry. For more than 130 years, the workshops have been a key manufacturing and maintenance hub. From locomotives to the trains of today – it’s a historic piece of Melbourne. The workshops opened in 1888, and two further expansions to the buildings were constructed in the first half of the 20th century. During World War II the workshops turned their efforts towards military construction including building parts for the DAP Beaufort planes, which was the Australian version of the British Bristol Beaufort. Today, the workshops maintain Metro’s fleet of trains to keep the people of Melbourne moving. In the video below, take a look back at how the workshops have shaped Victorian rail, and how Metro is protecting them for future generations.  
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