News | Metro Trains

Train upgrades keep performance on track for Metro

9 Oct 2020, James Ireland
Metro is keeping its trains maintained to the highest standard to improve service reliability, with the latest technical upgrades keeping fleets performing at their best. The three-stage, $75 million Comeng Life Extension Project has now overhauled 75 per cent of Comeng train units, with both passenger-facing and engineering improvements. Metro’s CEO Raymond O’Flaherty says, “The Comeng fleet has served the people of Melbourne for almost 40 years, they are brilliant trains and they’ve certainly got more life left in them. “We have very stringent maintenance programs for all our trains, that’s one of the reasons they are still so reliable. It’s also essential that we utilise all the technical advances that are available, and this life extension program makes sure that our passengers have the best possible experience on board.” The first two stages of the Comeng Life Extension Project are complete, while the third is well underway and includes upgrades to the passenger information system, with digital displays inside the carriages tracking the train’s journey in real-time. Siemens trains are also receiving significant upgrades, with new bellows now installed on 20 per cent of the fleet. The bellows provide an “outer wall” that fills the gap between the train and the platform, making it safer for passengers and rail employees. Melbourne trains are also being retrofitted with wireless data recorders to monitor key train systems, improve safety and reliability and maintenance, which means the trains are available to run on the network more often. The On-Board Diagnostic (OBD) system gives Metro engineers access to near real time data so they can monitor train performance, identify faults sooner, and maintain trains more efficiently. Metro has recently installed the state-of-the-art technology on 174 three-carriage X’Trapolis train units. These rolling stock upgrade projects have contributed to a more reliable network, with September performance results among the highest ever achieved by Metro. Metro ran 97.6 per cent of trains on time in September, well above the 92 per cent target, while 99.4 per cent of scheduled services were delivered. In September, Metro ran more than 59,000 train services for Melbourne.

An EPIC pathway to success for Metro engineering cadets

29 Sep 2020, Andrew Nelson
Metro Trains’ partnership with the Level Crossing Removal Project (LXRP) has unlocked exciting opportunities for asylum seekers and refugees to kick-start their engineering careers on some of Victoria’s biggest transport projects. Five cadets began their professional journeys with Metro this year as part of the Engineering Pathways Industry Cadetship – or EPIC program. The EPIC program, led by LXRP and supported by employers across Victoria, recruits qualified engineers from refugee or asylum seeker backgrounds. EPIC aims to break down barriers to paid employment in Australia, and opens a talent pipeline for entry-level site engineers on major transport infrastructure projects, including level crossing removal sites across the network. Metro’s Executive Director – Projects Peter Gleeson says the current pipeline of major projects is the perfect environment for engineering cadets to spread their wings. “These five cadets have been doing fantastic work for Metro to help shape the Victorian Government’s Big Build, which is transforming our public transport network,” Mr Gleeson said. The 18-month cadetship gives participants workplace experience and an Australian qualification, building the skills needed to further their careers. The five Metro cadets have received on-the-job training, support and mentoring, while completing an accredited Graduate Certificate in Infrastructure Engineering. “The EPIC program gives people pathways to further their engineering careers – with on-site experience, a recognised qualification, and exposure to some of the biggest transport projects the state has ever seen.” Mr Gleeson said. “There’s never been a better time to be part of the infrastructure transformation across our city, and with a huge demand for engineering skills, these cadets will only go from strength to strength.” Metro and the LXRP are supporting new Australians who are transitioning their international qualifications to match the workforce requirements in Victoria. The program’s success to date can be attributed to the cadets’ commitment to getting the job done, and the support they receive from their mentors and managers.

Metro on track for safer and easier maintenance

24 Sep 2020, Metro Newsroom
Metro Trains Melbourne has developed a new smart app to make track access for maintenance and renewals safer, quicker and easier. With more than 30,000 annual track access requests made by 1,000 safe-working employees and contractors each year, the Work on Track app removes subjective decision-making from the process of setting up track protection. Metro CEO Raymond O’Flaherty says the app is a game-changer for quickly determining the safest way to access the Metro network’s 1,000 plus kilometres of track. “The track access process is largely paper-based across the Australian rail industry, so we created a smarter and simpler way to complete the maintenance that our passengers rely on for a reliable journey,” says Mr O’Flaherty. The app generates appropriate track protection options—and, critically, excludes unsuitable options—reducing the risk of human error. It uses a cloud-based geographical information system (GIS) loaded with Metro’s asset data and geographical features. Users are unable to select lower level options—such as lookout-only protection—in complex areas or sections of the network without adequate line of sight, with the app’s smarts factoring in maximum line speed, structures, gradient and curves in the rail corridor. Mr O’Flaherty says there had been a 10 per cent reduction in access requests taken out under lookout only protection “This shows it is already helping us to manage our safety risks. And using the app before our crews arrive onsite allows us to get works started and completed faster while keeping our people, passengers and plant safe.”

“It can be a job for life” – 40 years of rail for Andrew Anthony

18 Sep 2020, Jake Smethurst
Forty years is a long time in the railway and there’s no one better to reflect upon the changes during that time than Caulfield Station Master Andrew Anthony. After waltzing into Southern Cross Station in 1980 – then known as Spencer Street Station – to find a job in the railways, Andrew spent a few years in the electrical department before taking an opportunity to work on the platforms. It’s a choice he’s very glad he made. “I’m happy with it and I’ve stuck with it, so I guess overall it has been pretty good to me – I can’t complain. You always think of what you’ve missed or what you could have jumped at but this is what I’ve stayed with and it’s the best option I took up.” Andrew’s career has taken him across multiple parts of the network, from picturesque Lilydale and Mooroolbark, to leafy Laburnum and Blackburn, and he says a lot has changed since the early days, especially in terms of safety. “We used to actually just walk on the track to go and do some manual work like cleaning up the points. You were basically told, ‘here’s what needs to be done’ and that’s it, you’d go for it, just watch out for the trains,” he says.

Change is no barrier to success for Metro’s longest-serving employees

16 Sep 2020, Jake Smethurst
If there’s one thing we know about the rail industry – it’s that it’s always changing. Melbourne’s rail network is currently experiencing an exciting transformation, with an infrastructure project agenda the likes of which the state has never seen before. From level crossing removals and Metro Tunnel works to the introduction of new high capacity signalling and trains – the railway is looking more different by the day. And for many of Metro’s longest-serving employees, it’s an opportunity to reflect on just how much change they have witnessed. Dozens of Metro people have recently notched up milestones of up to five decades working in the Victorian railways. Today we celebrate one of those who have helped shape a new generation of rail. Terrence Haby – Train Driver

Keeping our network ‘COVID-safe’ for essential workers

10 Sep 2020, Andrew Nelson
As coronavirus restrictions continue to impact Melbourne’s way of life, Metro remains focused on operating a safe rail network for those who depend on it for essential travel. August saw the introduction of new Stage Four restrictions, including a curfew for metropolitan Melbourne from 8pm to 5am. To limit the spread of coronavirus, Metro and other public transport operators reduced train, tram and bus services from 8pm until last service each night. Services are now running every 40-60 minutes with the first and last train on every line still operating to ensure all permitted workers can get to and from work. All Night Network services, which run after midnight on Friday and Saturday nights, are not operating during current Stage Four restrictions. Metro continues to operate on a normal timetable each day between 5am and 8pm to support essential travel. Many essential workers, including doctors, nurses, emergency services workers and supermarket staff, depend on Metro every day. Since March, Metro has been taking important steps to keep passengers who are still using the network safe during their journey. This includes: • an enhanced cleaning program across the network, which includes the nightly sanitation of every train, and regular cleaning of stations and high passenger touchpoints; • the roll-out of hand sanitiser units to the network’s busiest stations; • Metro staff are no longer handling cash payments; • an extra 95 weekly train services added to the network in a move to reduce crowding on peak-time services; and • announcements on trains and at stations to keep passengers informed of the latest restrictions, and tips to stay safe. August was another high-performing month for Metro, with 96.2 per cent of trains running on time. Metro delivered 98.3 per cent of services – a result that was directly impacted by the reduction of evening services due to new Stage Four restrictions. Around 100 trains were delayed by a severe storm event that hit Melbourne on the evening of 27 August. Extreme winds caused trees to be blown across rail lines, with train services suspended between Flinders Street and Caulfield. There were fewer trains delayed by trespassers during the month, with 392 late trains in August compared to 82 in July.

Metro’s pride shines bright on Wear it Purple Day

3 Sep 2020, Jake Smethurst
Flinders Street Station was bathed in purple (and all the colours of the rainbow) last Friday as people from across Metro Trains Melbourne came together to celebrate Wear it Purple Day and show support for LGBTQI+ colleagues, passengers and communities. COVID-19 restrictions meant traditional celebrations near Flinders Street couldn’t take their usual shape, so more than 140 people from across the business tuned in for a virtual morning tea to hear about Metro’s commitment to diversity and inclusion. Speaking at the event, Metro’s Diversity & Inclusion Manager Darren Hooper shared a powerful personal experience about being a parent to a transgender child and why it’s so important for companies like Metro to take part in events like Wear it Purple Day.

A simple ‘thank you’ can make all the difference

2 Sep 2020, Jake Smethurst
Whether it’s a wave and a smile, or a simple ‘thank you’, being kind to each other during these challenging times can make all the difference. This week, the Department of Transport launched the ‘thank you’ campaign to highlight the amazing and tireless work of Victoria’s public transport workers to keep the state moving during COVID-19. The campaign encourages people using the public transport network for essential travel to reach out and offer a simple gesture, such as a wave or a smile, to show their appreciation for frontline workers.

Improved safety and access as new Cheltenham Station opens

19 Aug 2020, Andrew Nelson
The new Cheltenham Station is now open after two months of intensive work along the Frankston Line to remove three more level crossings. Cheltenham is the eighth of 12 new stations to be built on the Frankston Line as part of a $3 billion investment from the Victorian Government. Cheltenham Station Master Lester Herft says, “The project did an incredible job involving the community and the station staff from day one. This created a smooth transition when handing the station back to Metro. This is the key to success for all new stations.” “The transformation from what we had in March to what we have today is truly incredible. It’s created a united team involving the station staff, Authorised Officers and Protective Services Officers all under the same roof,” Mr Herft said. “I’ve been blown away with the positive feedback from passengers. I speak to them every day and they tell me how excited they get when catching a train from the new station.” Frankston Line trains have been running in the new rail trenches below Park and Charman roads in Cheltenham, and Balcombe Road in Mentone, since mid-July, and the roads have been open since June. The removal of level crossings has improved safety and eased bottlenecks that caused delays and frustration for the 38,000 vehicles that cross the rail line each day. Minister for Transport Infrastructure Jacinta Allan marked the reopening of the station and praised project teams for adapting to new ways of working. “Despite the challenging conditions the pandemic has created, we’re continuing work on our critical infrastructure projects with strict safety measures to create safer connections for our communities and support local jobs,” Minister Allan said. The new station has two sets of lifts and stairs and a new forecourt and community open space along Charman Road. A multi-level car park is set to be completed next year. Finishing touches to the Cheltenham and Mentone stations, landscaping and a new 3.5 kilometre walking and cycling path between Cheltenham and Mentone will continue until they are completed later this year. The new modern stations in Cheltenham and Mentone are five-star Green Star design rated and include solar panels, water saving and rainwater collection, and will significantly reduce potential greenhouse gas emissions.

More sustainability success for Metro Trains Melbourne

17 Aug 2020, Andrew Nelson
Metro Trains Melbourne has been awarded an ‘excellent’ rating by the Infrastructure Sustainability Council of Australia (ISCA), in what is a major achievement for the rail operator. ISCA’s rating system measures and rewards sustainability performance based on 15 categories, including climate change adaptation, energy and carbon, ecology, procurement and innovation. In 2018, Metro became the first rail operator globally to be recognised with an Operations Infrastructure Sustainability (IS) rating. This month, ISCA delivered the news that Metro’s IS rating had been elevated to ‘excellent’ following improvements across a number of key sustainability categories.

Talented students promote safe travel on Metro trains

29 Jul 2020, Andrew Nelson
Students at primary schools in Berwick and Oakleigh South have taken out the top prizes in Metro Trains’ annual rail safety poster competition. Metro invited children from Foundation through to Year 6 from schools across Melbourne to participate in the ‘Safe Travel on Metro Trains’ competition. Mia from Year 1 at Oakleigh South Primary School took out first prize for Foundation – Year 2 for her poster depicting social distancing on station platforms. Her prizes include an Apple iPad Mini and a voucher from Angus and Robertson book stores. Vinuthi from Year 3 at Brentwood Park Primary School won first prize for Years 3 – 4 for her poster promoting a range of safe behaviours including walking bikes through level crossings, standing behind the yellow line, and keeping a safe social distance from others. She took home a Nintendo Switch game console and game. Chanithu from Year 5 at Brentwood Park Primary School won top prize for Years 5 – 6 for his poster promoting social distancing and the work of emergency services workers, and calling on people to remove headphones at level crossings. Chanithu’s took home a Playstation 4 Pro console and gaming headset.
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