Life-size mock-ups of Melbourne’s new High Capacity Metro Trains (HCMT) have been unveiled by the Victorian government, providing a look at the accessibility features of the new fleet.
Sixty-five of the seven-carriage high-capacity trains are to be manufactured in Victoria, commencing in early 2018. The first trains are expected to be delivered for testing by November 2018.
The trains are intended to provide a quieter, more comfortable, more accessible journey for passengers, and will have the ability to carry 20% more passengers, compared to existing rollingstock.
“We’re building these trains right here in Victoria and equipping them with the latest technology to build a turn up and go system,” state public transport minister Jacinta Allan said.
“Advocacy groups are continuing to help refine the design of Melbourne’s new bigger, better trains to give all passengers smoother and more comfortable journeys.”
Allan was joined at a trial of the trains’ accessibility features (provided on the mock-up models) by Karen Hayes, CEO of Guide Dogs Victoria, who have advocated for additional flip-down seats to be included in the final design, allowing guide dogs to sit comfortably beneath their owner.
“We’re working collaboratively to improve the lives of the people we support. We have been impressed with the level of consultation and genuine commitment to accessibility in the train design engagement program for Melbourne’s new trains,” Hayes said.
“Public transport is critical in supporting members of our community with low vision or blindness to get to where they need to go independently, so we’re very excited to see how the new trains will positively affect our clients.”
The accessibility features of the trains will also be evaluated over the coming month by Vision Australia, Spina Bifida Foundation Victoria, Scope, VicDeaf and the Public Transport Access Committee.
So far, feedback provided by passengers, accessibility and transport user groups has been incorporated into various design features of the new trains, including the doors, seats, lighting, electronic signage, straps, and handrails. For instance, the colour of the handrails has been altered, while additional hand holds and more signage have been placed on the outside of the train design.
The trains will also feature more space for mobility devices, such as scooters and wheelchairs.
The HCMT are expected to begin servicing the Cranbourne and Pakenham lines in 2019, while the whole fleet is expected to eventually be ready for the opening of the Metro Tunnel in 2026.
Measuring 160 metres long, the trains will require the extension of 13 existing station platforms on the Cranbourne-Pakenham line, while longer stations will be built at 5 new stations.