New Sunshine signal control centre to power Metro Tunnel
A state-of-the-art train control hub that will be the nerve centre for services through the Metro Tunnel and on the upgraded Sunbury line is up and running, bringing turn-up-and-go train services for Melbourne another step closer.
The Sunshine signal control centre is purpose-built to support more frequent train services being delivered by the Metro Tunnel and is equipped with the new signalling technology that will enable Melbourne’s new fleet of bigger, better trains to safely travel closer together.
When the Metro Tunnel opens, High Capacity Metro Trains will use the new high-capacity signalling system in the tunnel and on the new end-to-end Sunbury to Cranbourne/Pakenham line.
Communications equipment installed on trains and on the ground will transmit data in real time back to the control centres, where signal controllers will monitor train movements to ensure services are running safely and smoothly.
The Sunshine control centre will control trains on the Sunbury line and through the Metro Tunnel to the eastern tunnel entrance in South Yarra, with capacity to manage future rail projects in the west including Melbourne Airport Rail, which will allow for a train every three minutes during the peak.
An existing control centre in Dandenong, which is receiving high-capacity upgrades this year, will monitor trains on the Cranbourne/Pakenham line up to the eastern tunnel entrance.
Engineers have already hit the ground running at Sunshine, with the control centre being used to oversee testing of the new signalling system, with multiple high-capacity trains on the Cranbourne/Pakenham line for the first time.
Crews have clocked up hundreds of hours of testing on the Mernda and Cranbourne/Pakenham lines in recent months, with this new phase set to last until mid November, as multiple trains are put through hundreds of potential real-life scenarios.
The new system needs to integrate with Melbourne’s existing conventional signalling system, requiring a rigorous testing program to ensure all technologies are working together seamlessly.
When the Metro Tunnel opens in 2025, Cranbourne, Pakenham and Sunbury line passengers will have direct access to five new underground stations from Arden to St Kilda Road.
By taking Melbourne’s busiest lines out of the City Loop and through a new tunnel under the city, the project will create capacity for more than half a million extra passengers a week across the rail network and save up to 50 minutes on a return journey to key inner-city locations.