News | Metro Trains

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.

‘Quack’-thinking saves family of ducklings

23 Nov 2020, James Ireland
Metro staff rescued a dozen ducklings that were spotted wandering on the tracks near Cheltenham Station on Saturday afternoon. An eagle-eyed passer-by saw the feathered family and phoned Metro’s customer call centre. Metro’s teams flew into action, stopping trains on the Frankston Line so that station staff and Authorised Officers could safely carry out the fluffy rescue mission. The ducklings are now safe and in the hands of wildlife carers.

Metro grants support Melbourne’s COVID-19 response and recovery

19 Nov 2020, 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. The grants will help organisations working in the areas of domestic violence support, food relief, homelessness/housing assistance, specialised community support and mental health. Metro has provided a total of $25,000 to support five charities that are doing exceptional work to help Melbourne’s most vulnerable during tough times. As part of the Metro Cares Community Grants program, Metro staff voted for the charities that they wanted to see receive financial support. The five charities each receiving $5,000 are: Safe Steps Family Violence Response Centre Foodbank Victoria Launch Housing Hands on Health Australia Lifeline Metro’s rail service is closely linked with the lives of millions of people in the communities we serve. Some members of our community are experiencing great hardship due to the impacts of coronavirus, and these grants are all about providing some much needed support. Metro CEO Raymond O’Flaherty said “This has been a tough time for many across our community, including our passengers, and it is important that we continue to support the frontline organisations who are looking after our most vulnerable.” “Each grant will enable these charities to continue their important work and deliver support to people when and where it’s needed.” Metro remains committed to strengthening our communities. The Metro Cares Community Grants program will continue to support grassroots community organisations and charities in 2021.

Train surfing footage prompts safety warning

13 Nov 2020, James Ireland
New CCTV footage released by Metro Trains shows offenders engaged in dangerous train surfing and coupler riding behaviour 10 News First showed showed this footage on its 12 November broadcast. Minister for Public Transport Ben Carroll warned people against risking their lives for a social media post by engaging in dangerous, irresponsible behaviour on trains. “This sort of behaviour could get someone killed. It’s reckless, irresponsible and causes disruption and trauma to all involved.” Metro’s General Manager of Security Operations, Adrian Rowland says, “All too often we’re seeing people illegally enter the rail corridor and put their lives at risk – it’s completely unacceptable behaviour and has severe consequences for the safe running of the network. “Beyond the obvious risk to human life, these incidents also cause lasting trauma to train drivers and rail employees, passengers and others who witness them.”

Trespassing increases as Metro records another month of record-high performance

10 Nov 2020, Andrew Nelson
Metro has seen another month of record-high performance results as the number of trains delayed by illegal trespassing increased. In October, punctuality and reliability results were well above the targets – with 97.1 per cent of trains running on time, and 99.4 per cent of services delivered. Compared with the previous month, the number of train services delayed due to people illegally trespassing on railway tracks doubled to 631. Metro managed a number of serious incidents, including people found walking or smoking beside tracks near Melbourne’s busiest stations – Southern Cross and Flinders Street. Trespassing on the railway is incredibly dangerous and can stop trains in their tracks, causing significant and unnecessary disruption to passengers. As Melbourne reopens and more people return to the rail network, Metro’s commitment to crack down on illegal behaviour remains strong. There are 9,000 CCTV cameras across the network – including at stations and in trains – while anti-trespasser ground panels have been rolled out to key locations. Metro works in close partnership with Victoria Police to clear the rail line during an incident and get services up and running as soon as possible for passengers. Offenders are also being brought to justice thanks to joint operations at level crossings across Melbourne. The Victorian Government has also invested $10 million in new anti-trespasser fencing to deter illegal behaviour on the metropolitan network. Fencing will be installed at known hotspots across the metropolitan and regional rail networks.
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