Engineering, Freight Rail, Passenger Rail, Technology and IT

Aussie-developed rapid deployment trolley already on Melbourne Metro

Rail equipment manufacturer and distributor Melvelle Equipment has developed a cutting-edge rapid deployment rail trolley, manufactured in Australia and already in use on the busy Melbourne Metro network.

The self-propelled trolley can travel up to 100 kilometres with a full payload of 700 kilograms. At its maximum speed, it can travel up to 80 kilometres.

Despite this impressive range, the machine is just 160 kilograms including batteries, and can be assembled by two people in just three minutes, with no tools required. Four people can assemble the machine in just two minutes.

The machine can be removed from the track in three minutes by two people, or as little as 90 seconds by four people. Its heaviest component weighs just 40 kilograms.

The Melvelle team of five engineers worked for 18 months on the design. Melvelle Equipment CEO Andrew Melvelle tells Rail Express the trolley, patent pending, is designed to be sophisticated yet uncomplicated.

“The original brief was from Sydney Trains, who wanted a lightweight trolley that could be folded up and put in the back of a ute, with a total range of 20 kilometres at 10km/hr, with fast assembly and disassembly,” he says.

With final approvals still underway for Sydney Trains, the first units of the trolley were actually delivered to Melbourne Metro in March 2018.

“The Level Crossing Removal Authority approached us regarding the need to have emergency response vehicles at every train station for the overhead [skyrail] system, because you can’t drive a truck up there,” Melvelle explains.

“The machine is stored at the stations, and if there’s an emergency the responders can wheel it out of the storage area, set it up on track, and travel down the track to the emergency, bringing all their service gear – for example a stretcher – and their people.”



The machine’s chassis is designed for multi-gauge applications, and platforms are designed specifically for the gauge the machine is being operated on. Safety efficiency is at the forefront of the design.

Hand throttle via joystick including horn, traction control, regenerative braking, dead-man pedal, emergency brakes, and full interlocking of all parts of the assembly, meaning if a wheel or a handrail is not correctly installed, the trolley will not move and a light panel will display the location of the error. There are two sets of controls on the trolley, but only one joystick, which must be moved by the operator in order to change direction, up or down the railway.

Melvelle says his company plans to export the product, with interest already registered as far away as UAE and England for the system.

“The trolley is designed manufactured in our factory in Newcastle and I it is the lightest and safest trolley on the market,” he says.

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