Metro Trains Melbourne (MTR Corporation)

Metro Trains Melbourne (MTR Corporation)
Metro Trains Melbourne, known colloquially as simply Metro, is the franchised operator of the suburban railway network in Melbourne, Australia. Metro Trains Melbourne is a joint venture between MTR Corporation (60%), John Holland Group (20%) and UGL Rail (20%).
Metro Trains Melbourne operates a fleet of 420 three-car train sets on 869 kilometres (540 mi) of track. There are sixteen regular service train lines and one special events train line. The train fleet travels over 30 million kilometres (19,000,000 mi) and provides more than 228 million customer boardings each year, over 14,000 services each week and carries over 415,000 passengers each weekday. Metro Trains Melbourne is also responsible for 218 railway stations and employs a workforce of 3,500 rail professionals including train drivers, mechanical and electrical engineers, network operations specialists and customer service representatives.
The railway track, infrastructure and rolling stock is owned by VicTrack on behalf of the State Government, and is leased to Public Transport Victoria which then sub-leases them to Metro Trains Melbourne. The State Governement now also owns the name 'Metro,' and it will probably stay even if there is a change of operators. Metro Trains has faced criticism in the past and was voted the worst rail system in Australia in 2011.
Metro Trains Melbourne History
Metro Trains Melbourne was selected as the new operator by the State Government of Victoria through its relevant agency, the Director of Public Transport, in June 2009 and replaced the previous operator, Connex Melbourne, on 30 November 2009. It was awarded an eight-year contract with the option of being extended for a further seven years. On 2 April 2012, the newly created Public Transport Victoria took over the management of the contract from the Director of Public Transport.
In July 2017, Metro experienced a computer outage which resulted in Metro's services grinding to a halt.
In September 2016, an extension of the franchise until November 2024 was announced.
Metro Trains Melbourne Fleet
The majority of rolling stock is owned by the Victorian Government business enterprise VicTrack. Metro Trains Melbourne is responsible for maintaining the train fleet. All trains on the Melbourne suburban network are electric and are driver-only operated and are fitted with power-operated sliding doors which are closed by the driver, but opened by passengers. The doors of newer model X'Trapolis 100 and Siemens trains are opened by a button, but the Comeng trains are opened using handles. Trains also have inter-car doors to enable passengers to change carriages while in transit. All trains are fitted with air conditioning, closed-circuit cameras, and emergency intercom systems. Trains are fixed into three car units, and may operate alone or in pairs.
As part of the 2008 Victorian Transport Plan, 38 six-car X'Trapolis EMUs were ordered, with the first of 19 trains built by Alstom in Italy arriving at the Newport Workshops on 24 August 2009. The trains were assembled at United Group's Ballarat North Workshops, under a state government requirement for a minimum of 40% local content. Further orders for X'Trapolis will see the fleet total 101 by late 2018.
In September 2016, Evolution Rail (a consortium of Downer Rail, Changchun Railway Vehicles and Plenary Group) was selected to build 65 new High Capacity Metro Trains for delivery from 2019.
Metro Trains Melbourne Fleet
Type: Comeng
Type: Siemens Nexas
Type: X'Trapolis 100
Type: Sprinter
Type: IEV
Type: T class
Type: HCMT
Metro Trains Melbourne Former Fleet
Type Top speed
(km/h) Built Number Notes
Type: Hitachi
Type: B class
Metro Trains Melbourne Classification and configuration
Since shortly after the introduction of suburban electric trains in Melbourne, their carriages have been classified as follows. All fleet types have used these classifications, with different fleet types using different number ranges for the carriages.
  • M indicates a motorised carriage, with a driving compartment.
  • T indicates a trailer carriage.
  • D indicated a trailer carriage with a driving compartment. Only Swing-door, Tait, and Hitachi trains had these.
  • G indicated a trailer carriage fitted with both gas and electric lighting, for use on country services. Only Tait trains had these.
  • BT indicated a second class trailer carriage. Prior to the abolition of first class suburban travel in 1958, motorised carriage were generally second class and trailer carriages were generally first class.
An exception to the above classifications was the trial double-deck train, which used T to indicate a trailer carriage with a driving compartment, and M to indicate a motorised carriage without a driving compartment.
Currently, all trains are assembled into a symmetrical M-T-M arrangement. Trains comprise either one or two such units. All peak period services and some off-peak services comprise two units. The recently retired Hitachi trains operated in fixed two-unit sets.
Metro Trains Melbourne Lines
Metro Trains Melbourne operates 7 passenger train lines (including a non-electric shuttle service) and one special events train line, with travel patterns often classified into groups:
  • Burnley Group
  • Lilydale, Belgrave, Alamein & Glen Waverley Line (Blue)
  • Caulfield Group
  • Pakenham & Cranbourne Line (Light blue)
  • Sandringham Line (Pink)
  • Clifton Hill Group
  • South Morang & Hurstbridge Line (Red)
  • Northern Group
  • Sunbury, Craigieburn & Upfield Line (Yellow)
  • Cross-City Group
  • Frankston line, Werribee & Williamstown Line (Green)
  • Stony Point Line (non-electrified train service beyond Frankston)
  • Flemington Racecourse special event service
  • Most of the above lines also travel along the City Loop.
Metro Trains Melbourne Stations
Metro Trains Melbourne are responsible for the day-to-day operations of 212 stations. Metropolitan train stations include: terminus stations, premium stations manned by staff the entire day who provide extra assistance and information to commuters, and host stations manned only during peak hours from 07:00 to 09:30.
Service Patterns
Melbourne uses "clock-face" timetables in off-peak periods, but generally not in peak periods, due to operating near to the capacity of the infrastructure and having to accommodate single-line sections, flat junctions, and regional diesel-hauled trains. Even in off-peak periods, however, frequencies vary according to time of day and day of week, and by line. In some places, services on two lines combine to provide more frequent services on common sections of tracks. Saturday and Sunday services are identical during the day, but differ during the evening on some lines. Sunday morning services however start later than on Saturdays, and run less frequently until around 10am.
Service patterns are often classified into the groups as listed above.
Burnley Group
Burnley Group consists of one passenger service line:
Lilydale, Belgrave, Alamein & Glen Waverley Line (Blue)
All trains run via the City Loop (in one direction depending on time of day and day of week), with the exception of Alamein and Blackburn services. Since 8 May 2011, Glen Waverley trains travel direct to Flinders Street on weekday mornings without travelling via the loop. With minor exceptions, Lilydale and Belgrave trains do not stop at East Richmond station, which is served by Glen Waverley trains.
During peak hours express trains operate from the outer ends of the Lilydale and Belgrave lines in the direction of peak travel, using the third track from Box Hill and the City Loop. Alamein trains run via the City Loop, although they formerly ran direct to Flinders Street; stopping all stations trains from the intermediate terminus of Blackburn also run direct to Flinders St.
All off-peak trains run via the City Loop in one direction, with the exception of Alamein services which are shuttles to and from the junction at Camberwell.
Caulfield Group
Caufield Group consists of three passenger service lines:
  • Pakenham & Crenbourne Line (Light blue)
  • Sandringham Line (Pink)
  • Eastern portion (Frankston line) of the Frankston, Werribee & Williamstown Line (Green)
All trains on the Pakenham, Cranbourne, and Frankston lines operate via the City Loop (in one direction depending on time of day and day of week), with the exception of a small number of peak hour services. Sandringham trains also operate via the underground loop on weekends, but not weekdays.
The Frankston line has a number of peak hour express services in the direction of peak travel that use the third track from Moorabbin. The Pakenham and Cranbourne lines have a smaller number of peak expresses, and most Sandringham trains stop at all stations.
Weekday Frankston services do not form part of the Caulfield loop and are instead directed to the Cross-City group.
Clifton Hill Group
Clifrton Hill Group consists of one passenger service lines:
South Morang & Hurstbridge Line (Red)
From 1 January 2018, all trains (with the exception of those departing the city after midnight, all services after midnight run direct from Flinders Street) operate via the City Loop (in a clockwise direction from Jolimont station on weekdays and weekends
On most occasions in peak hour, Hurstbridge line trains operate express between Jolimont and Clifton Hill, with the South Morang trains serving the intermediate stations.
Northern Group
Northern Group consists of two passenger service lines:
  • Western portion (Werribee and Williamstown lines) of the Frankston, Werribee & Williamstown Line (Green)
  • Sunbury, Craigieburn & Upfield Line (Yellow)
All trains operate via the City Loop (in one direction depending on the time of day and day of week), except for the Williamstown services. All off-peak Williamstown services are shuttles to and from the junction at Newport, while in peak they run direct from Flinders Street. Since 9 November 2008, Werribee trains do not run through the Loop during morning and afternoon peaks.
Since 2011, Werribee and Williamstown services do not use the Northern loop at all, instead being directed onto the Frankston line as part of the Cross-City group. Werribee trains still use the loop on weekends (apart from Night Network services).
Cross-City Group
In PTV's Network Development plan, released April 2013, it revealed that the timetable change introduced in 2011 created a sub-group known as the Cross-City group, which consists of the Werribee/Williamstown line and the Frankston line. This group does not have a loop tunnel, rather, it runs straight through Flinders street and Southern Cross using the outer viaduct. During weekdays, most trains from Frankston run through Flinders Street and terminate at either Werribee or Williamstown, and vice versa. During peak hours, either trains may terminate and reverse. During weekends, this group does not operate, instead being fed into their former respective loops. The group's creation is part of a plan to create through-running lines across the CBD to facilitate easier transfers for commuters that wish to travel from the western suburbs to the eastern suburbs.
Stony Point Line and Other Services
Stony Point line services operate as shuttles from Frankston station with advertised connections between trains. Melton (Ballarat line) and Wyndham Vale (Geelong Line) services are operated by V/Line and depart from Southern Cross, but metropolitan tickets can be used. Bacchus Marsh/Melton/Ballarat trains stop at Rockbank, Caroline Springs, Deer Park and Ardeer. Wyndham Vale/Geelong trains also stop at Ardeer and Deer Park, along with Tarneit. Only Wyndham Vale and Ballarat trains stop at Ardeer, not Geelong trains.
5 morning peak and 3 afternoon peak trains operate to and from Wyndham Vale. One weekday morning service and numerous football services operate to Wyndham Vale.
Frequent peak hour trains operate to and from Bacchus Marsh and Melton. Since 2015, weekday hourly trains have also operated to Bacchus Marsh. On top of Ballarat trains stopping here, Bacchus Marsh residents have half hourly services to the city.
On weekdays, Geelong and Ballarat trains run express after Tarneit and Melton respectively, with Wyndham Vale, Bacchus Marsh and Melton trains stopping between Rockbank and Sunshine. On weekends, these stations are serviced by Ballarat trains.
Sunbury trains also used to be operated by V/Line trains until 2012 when the electrical network was extended to Sunbury. These trains also stopped at Diggers Rest. The redundant carriages were moved onto Bacchus Marsh services instead. Sunbury passengers. can still catch V/Line trains from Bendigo. V/Line trains used to also operate to Donnybrook, stopping at Cragieburn Station. Since the electrical network was extended to Cragieburn in 2007, trains have stopped terminating at Donnybrook.
Metro Trains Melbourne Special Services
There are no regularly scheduled services on the Flemington Racecourse line, but services are run to the Racecourse whenever race meetings are held at the racecourse. Services are also operated to the Showgrounds platform during the Royal Melbourne Show every September.
Metro Trains Melbourne Ticketing
Metro Trains Melbourne uses the myki ticketing system exclusively. Myki is a time and zone based ticketing system, with validity periods ranging from two hours to one year, and two zones covering the Melbourne metropolitan area.
The Metcard ticketing system was decommissioned on 28 December 2012.
Metro Trains Melbourne Fare Enforcement
Like the other modes of public transport in Victoria, Metro Trains Melbourne employs Authorised Officers (commonly known as "ticket inspectors") who exercise powers under the Transport (Compliance and Miscellaneous) Act 1983. The main responsibilities of Authorised Officers are to report ticketing and behavioural offences to the Victorian Department of Transport, provide customer information and help during special events.
Authorised Officers are authorised by the Director of Public Transport to exercise powers similar to those of police, allowing them to check tickets and verify concession entitlements. In some circumstances, Authorised Officers may also perform arrests when aboard other vehicles operating under PTV or when on Department of Transport-owned premises, such as railway stations or train tracks.
Authorised Officers are required to adhere to the Code of Conduct for Public Transport Authorised Officers. and violations of this code are prosecuted. The Code of Conduct states that an Authorised Officer may use discretion when reporting an alleged offender, and must supply their name and work address when asked. If an Authorised Officer believes that a passenger has committed an offence, they have the right to request the offender's name and address after having explained the nature of the alleged offence to the offender. The Authorised Officer also have the right to request proof of the given information. If the offender refuses to provide identification or provides false information, Authorised Officers will then contact Victoria Police. Authorised Officers also have the right to detain the offender until the police or further assistance arrives.
Authorised Officers are required to submit a Report of non-compliance with the details, specific nature and circumstances of the offence to the Department of Transport, who then processes the reports and decide upon any penalties. Any fines levied are payable to the Department, not to Metro Trains Melbourne. Metro Trains Melbourne receives a small administration fee to cover the costs associated with employing Authorised Officers.
Metro Trains Melbourne Punctuality
Metro failed to meet Government set targets for punctuality in all of its first 9 months in operation, with almost 1 in 4 trains being late.
Metro's performance improved in 2011, exceeding performance benchmarks for six consecutive months from June to November – the first time this had been achieved since December 2008. Since April 2012, the punctuality figures have been consistently outperforming the benchmark, while the delivery figures have either exceeded or were very close to the benchmark throughout 2012 and 2013.
Metro Trains Melbourne Legislation & Governance
Metro Trains Melbourne and the Transport Integration Act
The prime transport-related statute in Victoria is the Transport Integration Act 2010. The Act established the Department of Transport as the integration agency for Victoria's transport system. The Act also establishes and sets the charters of the State agencies charged with providing public transport rail services and managing network access for freight services, namely the Director of Public Transport and V/Line. The Act authorises the Director of Public Transport to enter into contracts for the provision of transport services and this provision is the source of the power for the contract between Metro and the Director. In addition, the Transport Integration Act establishes VicTrack which owns the public rail network and associated infrastructure. VicTrack leases public transport land and infrastructure to the Director of Public Transport who leases it to transport operators such as Metro as well as entering into franchise agreements with the operators for them to run public transport services on behalf of the State.
Metro Trains Melbourne and the Rail Safety Act
The safety of rail transport operations in Melbourne is regulated by the Rail Safety Act 2006 which applies to all commercial passenger operations. The Act establishes a framework containing safety duties for all rail industry participants and requires operators who manage infrastructure and rolling stock to obtain accreditation prior to commencing operations. Accredited operators are also required to have a safety management system to guide their operations. Sanctions applying to the safety scheme established under the Rail Safety Act are contained in the Transport (Compliance and Miscellaneous) Act 1983. The safety regulator for the rail system in Melbourne including trams is the Director, Transport Safety (trading as Transport Safety Victoria) whose office is established under the Transport Integration Act 2010. No blame investigations for rail matters are undertaken by the Chief Investigator, Transport Safety.
Metro Trains Melbourne Ticketing and Conduct
See also: Transport (Compliance and Miscellaneous) Act 1983
Ticketing requirements for trains, trams and buses in Melbourne are mainly contained in the Transport (Ticketing) Regulations 2006 and the Victorian Fares and Ticketing Manual. Rules about safe and fair conduct on trains, trams and buses in Melbourne are generally contained in the Transport (Compliance and Miscellaneous) Act 1983 and the Transport (Conduct) Regulations 2005.
Metro Trains Melbourne Criticism and Controversy
May 2011 Timetable Changes
Metro Trains updated the running schedules in May 2011 to alleviate late running (and thus penalties). In reality, in many cases services were simply given a few more minutes per trip to offset any late running. In some instances, some trains are required to wait at stations mid-journey to return to schedule. Many passengers criticised this move, with some saying that effort should be placed on upgrading infrastructure to allow more efficient operation rather than padding timetables to suit the operator.
Since implementing this timetable Metro Trains have reached punctuality targets each month, and have not been required to compensate eligible passengers. The only exception to this has been May 2011, the first month of operation.
Metro Trains Melbourne Twitter
In January 2012 Metro Trains ceased using its official Twitter feed to advise of train service cancellations and disruptions, instead choosing to provide only major disruptions, planned alterations to services and other announcements. Users seeking up-to-date service information were directed to use the Metro Trains website instead. This move provoked outrage from customers, many of whom considered the Twitter feed to be a more accessible source of information and see the current tweets to be nothing other than carefully worded spin.
A number of unofficial Twitter accounts have since been established providing delay and cancellation information either on a line-by-line basis or for the entire network. This information is obtained directly from Metro Trains via web scraping.
Station skipping and early service terminations
In April 2012, Metro Trains acknowledged the practice of altering stopping condition of selected late-running trains (for example, stopping all station to express) in an attempt to make up lost time (thus meeting the Operational Performance Regime set by the State Government of Victoria). It has also been reported that selected services have terminated (turnaround) ahead of timetabled destination, forcing passengers to change in mid-journey. Metro Trains make these changes throughout the day, including peak hours, claiming it is for the greater good.This can be inconvenient for outer suburban passengers, who are forced to wait up to an hour between services. These come after Metro Trains failed to meet punctuality target in February 2012 and March 2012. It has been reported that the incidence of altered services has become more frequent since the introduction of the network wide new timetables on 22 April. Reportedly, at least 129 drivers' incident reports from mid-April to May record services that have been altered in the form of changing a stopping-all-stations to express or terminating a service early.
In June 2012, Metro was fined $2.7 million for January to March 2012 quarter for service performance, including skipping stations, running shorter services and bypassing City Loop stations. "... but too often it had resorted to running short services or bypassing the City Loop to keep to the timetable." as stated by Public Transport Victoria chief executive Ian Dobbs.
Metro Trains Melbourne Safety Checks
In May 2012, Australian Rail Tram and Bus Industry Union accused Metro Trains taking shortcuts in safety procedures, including not checking on-board CCTV and intercoms, and allow trains with cracked inner glass to take passengers. Metro Trains claim safety equipment is regularly checked during routine maintenance.
Live Service Update not Showing Cancelled Trains
On 16 July 2012, Metro Trains launched a revamped website which included a healthboard that displayed live information about train delays and disruptions, both planned and unplanned. However, details of cancelled services were removed. Metro Trains stated that such information was still available via SMS alerts, however the number of people subscribed to the alerts plunged 60% in six months (13,000 subscribers in mid-2012 when compared to 32,000 at beginning of 2012) due to a growing preference for people to use smartphones.
State Government concerned on station skipping to meet target
A ministerial document shows the State Government raised concerns that some station skipping may not be warranted. "There have been some instances where the decision appears to be not in the best interest of commuters ...". "The train driver's union, Public Transport Users Association and the Opposition are calling for Metro's bonuses (worth $3.38 million last year) to be scrapped if achieved by shortcuts ... Rail, Tram and Bus Union locomotive secretary Marc Marotta said station skipping had gone from an emergency practice to a daily practice under Metro, with Frankston and Craigieburn lines the worst affected." In summary: 59 stations were skipped 3 or more times a week between 22 April 2012 and 10 October 2012; an Alamein train which skipped Glenferrie when it was a mere three minutes late; 1998 (or 0.46% of monthly trains) have altered to express since September 2012; 9 drivers have complained about passenger abuse.
Customer Compensation Streamlining
It was reported in 2013 that tens of thousands of passengers were missing out on compensation when Metro failed to meet monthly performance targets, either because they were not aware of their entitlements or didn’t want the hassle of going through the complicated claims system. In 2012, 300,000 passengers were eligible for compensation but did not make claims. Therefore, Metro only paid out 12,000 claims worth $99,000 instead of at least $1.3 million.
Metro Trains Melbourne July 2017 Shutdown
On 13 July 2017, a computer glitch occurred which left Melbourne's rail network temporarily disabled. During the computer glitch, Metro's website also seemed to be experiencing technical issues. On the next morning Metro Trains chief Mike Haughton said, "a failure in the core train control system had meant operators could not "see" the trains, so it was shut down for safety reasons."
Dumb Ways to Die Movie
In November 2012, Metro launched the safety campaign Dumb Ways to Die which became a global viral video hit through sharing and social media. It also produced merchandise such as posters, stickers and badges. The campaign was leaked to the public several days early by the Fake Metro Trains parody Twitter account.
In May 2013, Metro released a "Dumb Ways to Die" game as an app for iPhone, iPod touch and iPad devices. The game invites players to avoid the dangerous activities engaged in by the various characters featured throughout the campaign. Within the app, players can also pledge to "not do dumb stuff around trains". In November 2014, Metro released a sequel, "Dumb Ways to Die 2: the Games" which follows a similar premise as the first game in a style of various sporting events and also allows players to pledge.
Metro Trains Melbourne Overview
Type: Subsidiary
Industry: Public transport
Founded: 30 November 2009
Headquarters: Collins Street, Melbourne
Area Served:
Melbourne, Australia
Key people: Raymond O’Flaherty (CEO)
Products: Transport services
Owner: MTR Corporation (60%)
John Holland Group (20%)
UGL Rail (20%)
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