The new metro tunnel in Melbourne is now being tested at its maximum speed, according to the Government of Victoria, which is reported as a landmark moment for the biggest rail project in Victoria since the City Loop.
Scheduled to open in 2025, the Melbourne metro features five new stations (Arden, Parkville, State Library, Town Hall and Anzac) and Twin 9km train tunnels connecting the east and west of Melbourne.
Passengers travelling on the Cranbourne/Pakenham to Sunbury Line will be transported through the Metro Tunnel by Melbourne’s new fleet of larger and improved High Capacity Metro Trains (HCMTs).
The HCMT order forms part of a $2.3bn expenditure from the Victorian Government with the aim of renewing its fleet and providing an efficient passenger experience.
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Currently, trains are being tested at maximum speed deep beneath Melbourne’s central business district. Since the first test trains entered the tunnel in July 2023, the crew has gradually increased train speed.
When the Metro Tunnel opens in 2025, trains will be able to move at a speed of up to 80km/h, up from the initial testing range of 5km/h to 25km/h.
This development follows the first phase of testing in July, which oversaw two HCMTs travelling 1.7km to Anzac Station after entering the twin 9km tunnels at the South Yarra tunnel entrance.
The Government of Victoria stated the majority of testing will continue at speeds up to 80km/h for the rest of 2023.
Testing will go on in stages to make sure the Metro Tunnel’s intricate systems are compatible with the project’s new HCMTs and with the current signalling system throughout the larger network.