Rail safety issues and actions

Train / platform clearances

Issue number: RO-2014-005-SI-04
Who it affects: Train passengers
Issue owner: Metro Trains Melbourne
Transport function: Rail: Passenger - metropolitan
Background: Investigation Report RO-2014-005
Issue release date: 27 April 2016
Current issue status: Safety action pending
Issue status justification:

ATSB accepts MTM’s proposed actions on this safety recommendation. However, until the proposed works are completed at platforms identified as presenting higher risk, the ATSB will retain the status of this safety issue as ‘pending’.

Safety issue description

Due to the curvature of the track, a wide gap existed between the platform and train at the Heyington Railway Station. There are several stations on the Melbourne metropolitan rail network where wide gaps exist between platforms and trains due to track curvature. These gaps pose a risk to passengers.

Proactive Action

Action organisation: Metro Trains Melbourne
Date: 19 August 2016
Action status: Released

MTM has completed a survey of all the stations with curved track across the network in order to measure the platform offsets from the track. Platforms of higher risk have been identified and in the short term these stations have had ‘Mind the gap’ painted along the platforms, while also announcements are made to warn passengers of the gap. In the long term, works plans have been drawn up for these platforms in order to institute risk mitigation measures.

ATSB comment:

The ATSB accepts that the works plans drawn up to institute additional risk mitigation measures are satisfactory. However, an unacceptable risk to passengers exist, unless the works are completed. Accordingly, the ATSB issues the following Safety Recommendation


Action number: RO-2014-005-SR-035
Action organisation: Metro Trains Melbourne
Date: 27 November 2015
Action status: Released

The ATSB recommends that MTM expedite their plans to introduce additional risk mitigation measures (such as instituted at Heyington Railway Station), at the platforms that have been identified as presenting higher risks from larger platform-carriage clearances.

Additional correspondence

Response date: 26 July 2016
Response from: Metro Trains Melbourne
Action status: Released
Response text:

As the ATSB has noted, MTM has taken interim steps at other stations with larger platform carriage clearances to expressly highlight the gap through platform markings and on-station announcements.

Furthering the above work, MTM has also developed a ‘prioritised list’ of stations based on risk associated with platform gaps. In doing so, MTM has also considered other mitigations which can be taken to physically reduce the size of the gap at some stations. MTM is now working with other Victorian public transport stakeholders, including relevant government departments and agencies, to establish project approval, funding and governance.

As the ATSB is aware, MTM is the franchise operator of the Melbourne metropolitan rail network, and as such shares responsibility for the overall state of the associated infrastructure and rolling stock with a number of other stakeholders, and decisions regarding capital upgrade works must be shared and agreed to among these.

This work has commenced and is progressing as efficiently as practicable in the circumstances, subject to usual budgetary and planning processes beyond the control of MTM.

This is consistent with MTM’s proposed steps following the incident, and so it is not clear what is meant by ATSB when it refers to ‘expediting’ these measures. On that basis MTM can only partially agree with this recommendation as currently drafted.

Last update 22 August 2016