16 Oct 2019, Andrew Nelson
Passengers with accessibility needs have had an opportunity to test and trial an accessible train during the annual Try Before You Ride event at Box Hill Station. Metro’s General Manager – Passenger Experience Tilly Loughborough joined colleagues from MTR partners in London and Stockholm to see first-hand how Metro is improving accessibility for passengers – including people with a disability, parents and carers with children, and seniors. Organised by the Department of Transport, Try Before You Ride helps people of all abilities feel more confident when using Melbourne’s public transport system. Metro drivers, Authorised Officers and station officers were on hand to help people navigate through a stationary train.

Metro employee immortalised on marriage equality stamp

10 Oct 2019, Kate Rasmussen
Metro Driver Compliance Manager Paula Van Bruggen and partner Rebecca Davis will forever be immortalized on an Australian $1 stamp. On the day it was confirmed that Australia had voted in favour of marriage equality, Paula and Rebecca joined in as people climbed the steps of the Melbourne State Library to eagerly await the announcement. Two years after the vote, Paula and her partner received a call to ask if they minded if a picture of them was used on a postage stamp to commemorate Australian marriage equality. “We were ecstatic.” Paula said, “There is still a long way to go before we have true equality for all, however I’m proud of how far we’ve come. From a postal vote that fuelled quite a lot of hate, to a postage stamp created out of love.”

Bringing stations to life to support better mental health

3 Oct 2019, Andrew Nelson
Metro is connecting passengers to local mental health services as part of a campaign being rolled out to stations across the network. Each month, Safety and Security team members, Authorised Officers, mental health advisers, local mental health organisations, and Victoria Police are coming together for Stations Alive. The program is focussing on priority stations including Dandenong, Berwick, Clayton, Croydon, Box Hill, Ringwood, Sunshine, Footscray, Flinders Street and Parliament throughout 2019. The stations were identified as key locations for community engagement, following an analysis of known hotspots for self-harm incidents. The campaign is raising awareness of mental health in local communities whilst focusing on positive mental health messaging, and the local, state and national services and resources that are available. Metro General Manager – Safety and Security, Anthony Fewster, said the highly interactive campaign was all about encouraging positive dialogue. “Sometimes a simple conversation is all it takes to help someone through a difficult period in their life. We can also use these activations to point them to the services they need,” Anthony said.

Paving the way for more Cranbourne services

10 Sep 2019, Metro Newsroom
Vital upgrades to the Cranbourne line to remove the remaining level crossings and duplicate the track will start next year. The project will remove the last four level crossings along the line and fully duplicate it to enable trains to run every 10 minutes. These works include building a new Merinda Park Station with two new platforms and better facilities for the 1100 passengers who use it each weekday. Costing more than $1 billion, the Cranbourne Line Upgrade will be delivered in stages to ensure works can be coordinated and completed efficiently. Work is already underway to build a new road bridge over the rail line at Evans Road, with the Greens Road level crossing in Dandenong South the next to go. Located in a commercial and industrial area, the Greens Road level crossing will be removed by building a new rail bridge over the road, with detailed investigations confirming this as the most suitable design. Work will start in 2020 and the crossing will be gone by the end of 2022. Work will also start next year to construct eight km of new track between Dandenong and Cranbourne, removing single-track bottlenecks that prevent the introduction of more services. These duplication works – including the rebuilding of Merinda Park Station – will be completed by 2023. So far 11 level crossings have already been removed on the Cranbourne line, with further technical investigations and community consultation to come for crossings at Webster Street in Dandenong and Camms Road in Cranbourne. These crossings will be removed by 2025 to make the Cranbourne line the first to be completely level crossing-free. About 39,000 vehicles currently travel through the remaining Cranbourne line level crossings each day, and that figure is forecast to grow by about 41 per cent to about 55,000 by 2026. The Cranbourne Line Upgrade, together with the Metro Tunnel, will boost reliability, frequency with room for 121,000 extra peak hour passengers each week and travel times cut by up to 50 minutes a day. It also paves the way for a future extension of the line to Clyde, with planning already under way.

Metro Cares gives communities the chance to make a difference

10 Sep 2019, James Ireland
School gardens, local sports teams, historical societies, kinders, and many more organisations received $45,000 of grants to help them continue to improve their communities. Metro Cares Community Grants awarded 30 organisations grants of $1500. The groups were nominated by Metro staff. “The Community Grants program provides an avenue of support to our employees who invest their time, energy and often their money into creating a more connected community through volunteering. It was wonderful reading through all the applications, we have some truly remarkable team members!” said Ebony Fry, Metro’s Community Investment Coordinator. Through the grant process, the 30 winners were randomly selected from 58 eligible entries by Metro’s Corporate Responsibility Team. The diverse range of grant recipients reflects Metro’s diverse range of staff. Some of the recipients include: Te Reo Maioha Ki Poipiripi, a Maori language school who will get new learning materials. Croydon Gums Kindergarten, who will use the money for an indigenous garden. Richmond Creche and Kindergarten, will buy CCTV cameras. Country Fire Authority Broadford Fire Brigade, will buy fire-fighting equipment such as hose fittings and nozzles. Northcote Library Food Garden Inc, will buy gardening equipment and supplies, and hold educational workshops on topics such as building bee hotels, keeping worm farms, composting methods, and native planting.

Watch: Drivers getting up to speed for new trains

1 Sep 2019, James Ireland
New simulators will allow drivers to get comprehensive training on the High Capacity Metro Trains (HCMT) before they head out into the real world. Speaking to Nine News, Metro Trains’ Specialist Training Manager Andre Rudkovsky said HCMTs will be the most advanced trains on the Metro network, which means they require the most advanced driver training technology to support this important project. “Safety is our number one priority, and putting drivers in an immersive simulator allows them to be totally familiar and comfortable with the new controls before they get out on the real network,” Mr Rudkovsky said. Around 1,000 drivers will be trained in HCMT over the coming months – training will get underway using e-learning modules to introduce the train and systems, before progressing to desktop and the full cab simulators and then practical training on an actual HCMT. Two full cab simulators have now been installed – one at South Kensington and the other at the new HCMT depot at Pakenham East.

Oakleigh Station upgrade on the way

23 Aug 2019, Metro Newsroom
Works to improve Oakleigh Station have started as a part of a transformation that will provide better facilities and greater accessibility for the community. The upgrade project will reinvigorate the station precinct while keeping trains running. Once complete, this upgrade will provide a safer and more user-friendly experience for those accessing the station and the Oakleigh shopping precinct. A shallow, dated underpass currently exists as the only pedestrian crossing between north and south sides of the station, with commuters having to access a central island for city-bound services. This upgrade will bring the underpass up to modern standards and redesign access ramps on both sides, providing a more accessible, modern connection for all users. There will be two new lifts installed, better lighting and security cameras, and new canopies to provide better protection from the weather. The redesign will see commuters also benefit from direct access to city-bound services from Haughton Road, which will reduce congestion in the underpass. Oakleigh Station will remain open during construction to ensure that regular train and bus services are maintained for commuters, with some temporary changes to station access and car parking required to facilitate works Metro is working in partnership with the Level Crossing Removal Project, Lendlease, CPB Contractors, WSP and Aurecon will deliver the work. This team has already successfully removed nine level crossings and constructed five new elevated stations between Caulfield and Dandenong. Locals will be enjoying their upgraded Oakleigh station facilities by mid-2020, with some minor works to be completed later in the year.

A huge leap forward for Reservoir

19 Aug 2019, Metro Newsroom
The next major phase of works at the Reservoir level crossing removal site is now underway. The High Street intersection has been closed to traffic at the level crossing and will reopen in late December. During this time construction crews will reconfigure the road and build two, 185-metre-long steel bridge segments over the intersection. On average, 36,000 vehicles travel through the notorious Reservoir level crossing every weekday, where High Street, Cheddar Road and Spring Street intersect. The six boom gates at this intersection can be down for 24 minutes during the two-hour morning peak. In the past decade there were three recorded collisions, one fatality and 26 near misses at the level crossing. This includes a collision between a train and car earlier this year. The Reservoir level crossing removal and new station are scheduled to be complete in 2020. Raising the rail line over the road will offer the opportunity to develop public open space below and beside the rail bridge, including walking and cycling paths, landscaping and a public plaza for the community. Work to improve safety and deliver more trains on the Mernda line, used by 33,000 passengers each weekday, is continuing with another four level crossing removals and new stations at Bell and Preston planned. During the intersection closure, locals will be able to watch the bridge take shape from a range of public viewing areas.

Another prized poster for Rail Safety Week 2019

14 Aug 2019, James Ireland
When it comes to safety on Melbourne’s rail network, a poster can speak a thousand words. In August, Metro’s Community Education Unit held its annual Rail Safety Week poster competition, calling on year 5 and 6 students from across Melbourne to put their creativity to the test, and develop a unique safety message for passengers. Tucker Road Primary School student Trinity Taylor took out the top prize, highlighting the importance of stopping and thinking around trains. The poster includes a train travelling across a level crossing, with the boom arms down, and features the message: “Use your brain, when around trains, think twice, don’t pay the price.” Trinity earned a school visit from Metro’s Community Education Unit and Dumb Ways to Die characters for a special presentation of her prize, which included a Playstation 4 console and showbag. Metro Trains Community Education Officer Kelli Williams said the poster competition was a terrific way to engage young people on the importance of being safe around trains. “We speak to tens of thousands of people every year and visit hundreds of schools to spread a message of safety on the rail network,” Kelli said. “Congratulations to our winner Trinity and all our competition participants. These posters are teaching better behaviours around trains, which is a job for passengers big and small.” Dumb Ways to Die became the most awarded campaign in the history of the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity when launched by Metro in 2012. It has since generated more than 120 million personal pledges to be safe around trains from all around the world. “Rail Safety Week is a chance to remind people that careless or reckless behaviour around trains can have dire consequences,” Kelli said. Rail Safety Week (12-18 August 2019) is an annual Australasian Railway Association (ARA) and TrackSAFE Foundation community awareness initiative held across Australia and New Zealand.

Metro drives towards more inclusivity with Indigenous Australians

12 Jul 2019, Tom Mclaughlin
Metro has launched its first Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) which will lead the way to better understanding and stronger participation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. This RAP builds on past support for reconciliation at Metro and formalises our commitment to a more considered and deliberate reconciliation effort. Three are three main areas of focus for the RAP: Building relationships between Metro and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees, passengers, communities and businesses. Improving employment opportunities, supplier diversity and community programs. Using the assets, and visibility of Metro’s network to foster recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ histories, cultures and achievements. Metro CEO Raymond O’Flaherty said: “I am proud to present the first Metro RAP and I am confident it will set us on the right path to connect communities and enrich our city by building genuine relationships and creating opportunities with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.”

Improved train journeys for assistance animals

28 Jun 2019, James Ireland
Passengers travelling with assistance animals now have access to special relief areas on the network. The Assistance Animal Relief Areas provide space for assistance dogs to take a break and relieve themselves during their journey on the rail network. There are five relief areas at stations around the networks, Footscray, Parliament, Caulfield, Showgrounds and Flemington Racecourse. With the support of Victorian accessibility groups, including Vision Australia and Guide Dogs Victoria, the facilities were specially designed and implemented for the Metro network. Accessibility Manager Laura Edwards said the relief areas were an important step in making the Metro network more accessible for everyone.
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