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Metro Tunnel

High capacity signalling

Next-generation High Capacity Signalling technology will be installed on the Metro Tunnel to deliver more trains, more often during peak times.

This technology will revolutionise Melbourne’s train network as we move towards a reliable ‘turn-up-and-go’ network similar to other cities such as London, Singapore and Hong Kong.

Moving block signalling

High Capacity Signalling is the hi-tech “moving block” signalling system used around the world that enables trains to automatically adjust their speed to maintain a safe distance from the train in front.

This replaces the current conventional “fixed block” system, which uses coloured signals to indicate when it is safe for a train to proceed.

A trial of High Capacity Signalling has begun on a section of the Mernda Line between Epping and South Morang. Following this trial it will be rolled out along the new Sunbury to Cranbourne/Pakenham line. It will be the first roll-out of High Capacity Signalling on an existing network anywhere in Australia.

How it works

To visualise how High Capacity Signalling works, imagine driving on a freeway. Adaptive cruise control adjusts the vehicle speed according to the distance from the car ahead to help the driver travel more safely.

Under the control of train drivers, High Capacity Signalling works in a similar way by communicating this same information wirelessly between trains, the railway line and the signal control centres.

Signal control centres

Two signal control centres are being built as part of the Metro Tunnel, and these two locations are where the new High Capacity Signalling System will be managed from.

Located at Sunshine and Dandenong, these centres will be where signallers will support management of all train movements on the Cranbourne, Pakenham and Sunbury lines, including through the Metro Tunnel.

Control rooms inside the centres will be fitted-out with High Capacity Signalling equipment to provide a dynamic, real-time, overview of train movements across the network.

Sunshine and Dandenong were chosen as locations for the signal control centres because of their strong connection points to metropolitan, regional and freight rail services.

Construction of the Sunshine Signal Control Centre began in early 2020 and is scheduled to be completed in late 2020.

The High Capacity Signalling upgrades for the Dandenong Signal Control Centre, which has already been built, will be up and running in 2022.

Real-time train speed and location data is sent to the control centres continuously via a dedicated communications network. Control centres use real-time data to monitor train speeds and locations, ensuring safe stopping distances are maintained between trains at all times.

Platform screen doors

Each station will be fitted with floor-to-ceiling toughened glass walls along the length of its platforms and 60 platform screen doors.

These will open and close automatically when trains arrive at and depart stations, improving passenger safety and boarding times, helping manage the station environment and improve tunnel ventilation. They will also feature clear entry markings to make it easy for passengers to know where to wait for their train.

Platform screen doors are commonly used in some of the world’s leading underground rail networks including London, Hong Kong and Paris.

In July 2018 contracts were signed with global supplier Faiveley Transport, a French-based subsidiary of Wabtec, to design and supply more than two kilometres of platform screens doors.

The $23 million contract will create a dozen Victorian jobs, with elements of the platform screen doors tested locally at a train depot in Pakenham East before being installed at the new stations.

More information