Metro Tunnel turn-up-and-go services tested for the first time

Metro Tunnel turn-up-and-go services tested for the first time

Victorians are a step closer to turn-up-and-go services as train testing on the Metro Tunnel Project ramps up.

Teams put the trains and systems through their paces as services ran as frequently as two minutes apart through the tunnels between West Footscray to Hawksburn last month.

The major milestone was reached during testing along the Sunbury and Cranbourne/Pakenham lines using the new high-capacity signalling system, which allows trains to run closer together.

It comes after test trains first entered the Metro Tunnel in July last year.

Testing started at slow speed before trains reached 80km/h – the same speed at which passenger services will run when the Metro Tunnel opens in 2025.

These early tests laid the foundations for the project to complete more complex testing on the systems, such as high-capacity signalling.

This cutting-edge technology is similar to adaptive cruise control in cars, but for trains. A train’s location is wirelessly communicated to other trains and back to signal control centres.

This allows trains to safely move closer together, compared to the existing system, which uses stop and go lights to let drivers know when it’s safe to go.

The team will start test running timetabled services with drivers and station staff in a dress rehearsal later this year, to ensure everything is ready for a safe and reliable opening for passengers.

The Metro Tunnel is the biggest upgrade to Victoria’s train network since the City Loop opened in 1981 and will provide more choice and connections for Victorians with five new state-of-the-art underground train stations.

It will connect the busy Sunbury and Cranbourne/Pakenham lines via twin tunnels under the city, creating an end-to-end rail line from the north-west to the south-east and better connecting all Victorians to jobs, health, and education. •

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