Here are some pictures of Connex’s demonstration train, which is a test of modifications to the layout.
We asked Connex’s Lanie Harris to talk us through the changes.
The PTUA’s view is that the current design of most carriages on the Melbourne train network is inefficient. Standing passengers naturally gravitate around the doorways where it’s easier to hold on, slowing down boarding and alighting (“dwell times”), which impacts service punctuality and reduces the number of trains that can run on the system.
This re-design removes a moderate number of seats (roughly 15 in each carriage) but still leaves plenty of places to sit, as well as more handholds further into the carriage which should encourage standing passengers to move away from the doorways. Ideally no seats would be removed, but it has to be recognised that during peak times, most passengers don’t get to sit anyway, and the bigger problem is that at some stations, people have real difficulty in even boarding.
We are concerned that trying to keep the space behind drivers’ doors clear won’t work. Drivers rarely have to exit their cabs this way, and under crowded conditions, passengers are unlikely to stay clear of this area.
And there will be an impact outside peak hours, with less people able to get seats. Boosting services (for example to every ten minutes) would counter this, as well as encouraging more people to travel outside peak hours.