Upgrades to the rail network
To take full advantage of the extra capacity on the rail network created by the Metro Tunnel and its new High Capacity Metro Trains, a range of upgrades are proposed on the Sunbury, Cranbourne and Pakenham lines.
These will include installation of next-generation signalling technology and upgrades to infrastructure.
High capacity signalling
As part of the Metro Tunnel Project, High Capacity Signalling (HCS) will be installed from Watergardens to Dandenong.
High Capacity Signalling will enable Victoria’s new fleet of High Capacity Metro Trains (external link) to run on the Cranbourne, Pakenham and Sunbury lines and through the Metro Tunnel.
Sophisticated HCS equipment will be installed in both the rail corridor and within the driver’s cabin of each train, allowing trains to safely run closer together.
It will be the first roll-out of High Capacity Signalling on an existing network anywhere in Australia.
Track side communication equipment will also be installed along the length of the corridor.
Dedicated control centres will be built in Dandenong and Sunshine to support the new technology and will be fully staffed by experts who will monitor trains on the new Metro Tunnel line.
Initial testing of HCS will be trialled on part of the Mernda line, between Epping and South Morang, before being rolled out on the along the Cranbourne, Pakenham and Sunbury line that will run through the Metro Tunnel.
Sunbury Line Upgrade
To take full advantage of the extra capacity on the rail network created by the Metro Tunnel, a range of enhancements are needed on the Sunbury line to enable High Capacity Metro Trains to run.
The $2.1 billion Sunbury Line Upgrade will see various upgrades within the rail corridor extending from Sunbury to Footscray.
- Power upgrades between Sunbury and the Metro Tunnel entrance near South Kensington station
- Platform extensions at ten stations between Sunbury and Footscray
- Installation of wheelchair boarding platforms at eight stations
- Train stabling (or facilities used to maintain and store trains when not in service) upgrades at Sunbury, Calder Park and Watergardens.
West Footscray station
Construction of a new passenger platform and additional track at West Footscray, known as the Western Turnback, will allow services to start and finish at West Footscray station.
Providing an additional platform for Sunbury line trains will allow for an increase in the number of services and help ease overcrowding at West Footscray, Middle Footscray and Footscray stations during the morning and afternoon peaks.
Electricity upgrades are proposed to power the new trains and systems that are part of the Metro Tunnel. This may include upgrading a number of existing substations and potentially building new power facilities along the rail corridor.
Works on other lines
Prior to being implemented on the Cranbourne, Pakenham and Sunbury lines, High Capacity Signalling will first undergo testing along the Mernda rail line between Epping and South Morang stations.
This allows the technology to be tested and drivers, operators and maintenance crews to be trained. The testing and training program will involve using empty trains running on this section of track when passenger trains are not running. Initial testing will take place in the rail corridor between Epping and South Morang. These works include the installation of signalling, cables, track side radio equipment and associated infrastructure.
To support the network upgrades, signalling and track work may also be required along the rail corridor within inner city areas and along the Sandringham line between South Yarra station and Windsor station.
Timing and delivery of works
The proposed upgrades on the metropolitan network are planned to be delivered from 2018 to 2025.
There may be some disruptions to rail services while these works are delivered.
Advanced notice and bus replacement services will be provided.
Most of the proposed works will occur in the railway corridor where railway work does not require planning approval. However, there are a number of heritage and environmental overlays along the rail corridors where a planning permit is required for the proposed works.
The Minister for Planning has approved a Planning Scheme Amendment and supporting documentation to facilitate these works.