Rail system safety improvements
Maintaining and enhancing the safety of infrastructure on the public transport network is paramount. This page lists some of the initiatives that are helping ensure the system remains safe.
Information on this page
- Metrol train control centre replacement
- Digital Train Radio System
- City Loop safety systems upgrade
- Vigilance control system
The Metrol control centre coordinates train services across Melbourne's train system.
Metrol allows the train operator to respond to delays or changes to those services to minimise the impact on the travelling public. This control maximises the number of trains that can safely run on the system.
The system also provides more reliable up-to-the-minute timetable information for passengers.
The Digital Train Radio System will provide a secure, highly functional communications network to help keep Melbourne's trains running safely and efficiently.
The Government has announced a program for upgrading and replacing parts of the safety systems in the Melbourne Underground Rail Loop which was completed in 1985.
The works will include upgrading storm water drainage, smoke management, fire detection and suppression, lifts and escalators, emergency power and electrical systems and corrosion mitigation.
The project is expected to start in 2011-12.
See also City Loop history.
A new Vigilance, Control and Event Recording System (VICERS) is being installed on all suburban electric trains in Melbourne.
Installation of the new system follows a number of rail accidents in Victoria and elsewhere in Australia which highlighted safety issues with some current train protection systems. In Victoria, trains are equipped with a protection system known as a 'deadman device'. This system is designed to automatically apply the train brakes if the driver fails to maintain a foot or hand pilot valve in a set position. An investigation of 'deadman devices' installed on metropolitan passenger trains in Melbourne found a small continuing risk that a train driver could be incapacitated and the deadman system would not activate the brakes.
The new vigilance control system will assess a driver's actions to deduce whether the driver is alert and in control of the train or incapacitated. VICERS does this by analysing the use of the master traction control, brake control and horn control. A train-based recorder will continuously record train and driver actions. Specialist VICERS software can then be used to analyse train data and driver activity, particularly in the event of a train incident.