The State Government of Victoria has announced the operation of a high-capacity signalling (HCS) system across the Cranbourne/Pakenham line in Melbourne’s metro tunnel.

As previously reported, the new signalling system is set to allow the safe operation of more trains at greater frequencies, currently 17 passenger trains run on the line each day.

Victoria Big Build has stated this is the “first time in Australia the next generation signalling system has been retrofitted to an existing network”.

Passengers on the Cranbourne/Pakenham line would be transported under the Metro Tunnel by Melbourne’s new fleet of bigger and enhanced High-Capacity Metro Trains (HCMTs).

The new trains travelling through the metro tunnel and the new five stations are set to exclusively use the HCS system.

Alongside this, trains travelling across the Cranbourne/Pakenham to Sunbury Line will use a mix of HCS and conventional signalling.

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In an official video, the Victorian Government stated how the signalling system will work: “In Communications Based Train Control (CBTC) mode, we’re going to have the signalling inside the cab and the external signals will be extinguished. What will happen then is trains can keep a safe distance between each other.

“Kind of like adaptive cruise control, to work out the safe separation between each car and that’s what we call CBTC.”

Along with this announcement comes the unveiling of the Sunshine Signal Control Centre, which was designed specifically to integrate with HCS and oversee Metro Tunnel services.

According to the Government of Victoria, the control centre is the “brain” of the rail network, where highly skilled signallers will monitor and direct trains using data channels as they pass down the lines and through the tunnels.