Metro Tunnel achieves major milestone with first test trains
The first test trains have started running through the Metro Tunnel, marking a major milestone for the project and the beginning of a rigorous, months-long testing phase.
Two test trains – one in each of the twin nine-kilometre tunnels – were driven through the eastern entrance of the Metro Tunnel at South Yarra in the early hours of 25 July, stopping at Anzac Station.
The journey was years in the making and marks the start of the project’s next major testing phase inside the new tunnels and stations, which will stretch into 2024.
Over the coming months, the seven-carriage trains will run back-and-forth deep under the CBD and Yarra River testing various equipment and systems to ensure they are working seamlessly and safely.
Fundamentals – such as lining the trains up with the platforms – will be tested first before the team gradually increases the complexity, from one train at low speed using minimal power through to multiple trains at greater speeds.
Everything from lifts, escalators, security systems, communications, lighting, plumbing, power and the Victorian-first platform screen doors will all be rigorously tested to ensure all systems are working together with Melbourne’s new fleet of bigger, better trains.
“This is huge part of our work to make the Metro Tunnel passenger ready,” said Metro Tunnel Project Director Ben Ryan.
“We’re making sure all the pieces that fit together to set our stations up for Day 1 are in working order. That includes things like lifts, escalators, lighting, tunnel ventilation and power.”
This testing phase will continue into the first half of next year before the project team moves on to the next major testing phase – trial operations.
This phase will include drivers and station staff running simulated timetabled services in a dress rehearsal to ensure everything is ready for a safe, reliable, and efficient opening to passengers in 2025 – a year ahead of schedule.
The project will connect the busy Sunbury and Cranbourne/Pakenham lines via a new tunnel under the city, creating an end-to-end rail line from the north-west to the south-east. In doing so, the Metro Tunnel will free up space in the City Loop to run more trains across the city and suburbs – better connecting all Victorians to jobs, health, education, and each other. •