Train light signals (c) Misheye Photography

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.

Metrol train control centre replacement

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.

Digital Train Radio System

The Digital Train Radio System will provide a secure, highly functional communications network to help keep Melbourne's trains running safely and efficiently.

City Loop safety systems upgrade

PTV worked with rail operator Metro to upgrade the safety system in the Melbourne Underground Rail Loop (City Loop).

This included:

  • Maintenance and testing of fire safety systems
  • Replacement of ventilation fansĀ 
  • Replacement of the control and monitoring system
  • Repairs to the tunnel, walkways and track structures
  • Replacement of sleepers
  • Maintenance of the drainage system.

These works were completed in 2013, and represent a significant investment in the City Loop to ensure the continuity of the safety systems for future years.

Vigilance control system

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.