Rail industry news (Australia, New Zealand), Infrastructure Projects, Train Stations

Closing more platform gaps across the Sydney Trains network

Sydney Trains is extending a major safety upgrade project to close platform gaps across the rail network following the successful rollout at 13 high patronage platforms so far. 

An additional $9 million will be spent on an innovative rubber gap filler at another 20 station platforms.

51 per cent of falls in the gap occur at platforms where we see the highest passenger movement on the Sydney Trains network.

This additional funding will go to platforms identified as having the highest incidents of falls through the gap, customer patronage and technical feasibility. 

Sydney Trains Executive Director of Engineering and Maintenance Nev Nichols said, “There has not been a single fall through the gap recorded since the solution was installed at various platforms beginning in 2021.” 

Nichols said the latest installation took place at Redfern Station to ‘close the platform gap’ at hot spot locations on the Sydney Trains network. In 2023, approximately 450 people fell through the gap on platforms across the Sydney Trains network and more than 50 of those were at Redfern Station alone.

“Redfern Station is a major interchange, which sees the second highest rates of falls between the platform and train on the network, with children and elderly passengers most likely to fall and be injured,” Nichols said.

“Gap filler is an innovative way to prevent falls at train stations and improve safety and accessibility.

“With such brilliant results at other major interchanges of Circular Quay, Town Hall, Wynyard, Chatswood and Bondi Junction, Sydney Trains is now looking at using the rubber gap filler at other hot spots.

“Parts of the rail network are over 165 years old and unfortunately there is no one easy solution to prevent customer falls. Every platform has unique properties such as gradients, curves and varying heights, heritage retrofits and other considerations, and each requires a tailored, engineered approach.” 

Sydney Trains Chief Executive Matt Longland said an average of five people still fall through the gap across the Sydney Trains network each week.

“We are committed to upgrading stations and trains for improved safety and accessibility. One customer falling through the gap is one too many,” Longland said.

“Sydney Trains’ engineers have studied the experience of other networks in Australia and overseas to adapt the rubber gap filler for Sydney, and for individual platforms. 

“We are confident this is a solution to improving customer safety and accessibility on some of our problem platforms.”

Passengers are reminded to always stay behind the yellow line, mind the gap, and that station staff are on hand at many stations to help if they require assistance boarding their train. 

The rubber platform gap filler installation at Redfern Station platforms 11 and 12 was completed on 11 February and other platforms across the are being assessed by engineers for their suitability.