By Danielle Kutchel
Eagle-eyed Cardinia residents may have spotted some of Melbourne’s new fleet of trains as they underwent testing .
Buses replaced trains on the Pakenham line between Pakenham and Dandenong from Friday 3 July until Sunday 5 July to allow for the checks to take place.
The new trains are tested in real-world conditions, including stopping at stations, responding to signals and undergoing speed tests.
They had been running in-between passenger services where possible, but the weekend’s tests required repeated stopping and braking which is not possible during passenger services.
“Melbourne’s new High Capacity Metro Trains are currently undergoing a rigorous safety and performance testing program – taking test runs on the network alongside passenger trains for the first time,“ a Department of Transport spokesperson said.
“Every new train on our network must complete thousands of tests and travel thousands of kilometres before they are rolled out to ensure they are safe and comfortable for passenger service.”
The new trains will be gradually rolled out on the Cranbourne and Pakenham lines following completion of testing and will run all the way through to Sunbury once the Metro Tunnel opens.
The High Capacity Metro Trains will be capable of carrying 1,100 passengers – 20 per cent more than any other train on the network.
As a result of consultation with passengers, accessibility advocacy groups and passenger groups, the trains will be more accessible than past iterations.
They have been designed with semi-automatic boarding ramps, and aisles that are wide enough to allow all passengers to travel from one end of the train to the other.
The new trains are fitted with better seating and hand-holds than existing trains, and priority seating throughout the train, close to doorways and windows.
Mixed-use spaces allow for passengers travelling with bicycles, prams and other large items.
Real-time information will be delivered to passengers as they ride via dynamic route maps and passenger information displays throughout each carriage.
The trains are being constructed at the Pakenham East Depot, near Nar Nar Goon.