Metro Trains Melbourne

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Metro Trains Melbourne
Industry Public transport
Founded 30 November 2009
Headquarters Collins Street, Melbourne
Area served
Melbourne, Australia
Key people
Andrew Lezala (CEO)
Products Transport services
Owner MTR Corporation (60%)
John Holland Group (20%)
UGL Rail (20%)

Metro Trains Melbourne (MTM), known colloquially as simply 'Metro', is the franchise operator of the suburban railway network of Melbourne, Australia. Metro Trains Melbourne is a joint venture between the Hong Kong-based MTR Corporation (60%), John Holland Group (20%) and UGL Rail (20%).[1]

Metro Trains Melbourne operates a fleet of 407 three-car train sets on 837 kilometres (520 mi) of track.[2] There are sixteen regular service train lines and one special events train line. The train fleet travels over 30 million kilometres (19,000,000 mi) and provides more than 228 million customer boardings each year, over 14,000 services each week and carries over 415,000 passengers each weekday.[3] Metro Trains Melbourne is also responsible for 215 railway stations and employs a workforce of 3,500 rail professionals including train drivers, mechanical and electrical engineers, network operations specialists and customer service representatives.[4][5]

The actual railway tracks, infrastructure and rolling stock is owned by VicTrack on behalf of the State Government, and is leased to Public Transport Victoria which then sub-leases them to Metro Trains Melbourne. Metro Trains has faced criticism in the past and was voted the worst rail system in Australia in 2011.[6]


Metro Trains Melbourne was selected as the new operator by the State Government of Victoria through its relevant agency, the Director of Public Transport, in June 2009 and replaced the previous operator, Connex Melbourne, on 30 November 2009.[7] It has an eight-year contract with the option of being extended for a further seven years.[8] On 2 April 2012, the newly created Public Transport Victoria took over the management of the contract from the Director of Public Transport.


The majority of rolling stock is owned by the Victorian Government business enterprise VicTrack.[9] However, Metro Trains Melbourne is ultimately responsible for maintaining the train fleet.

Type Image Type Top speed
Built Number Notes
Comeng Melboure Comeng 381M Metro.jpg Electric multiple unit 115 1981–1988 187 Refurbished 2000–2003.
Siemens Nexas Siemens train in Metro Trains Melbourne Livery.jpg Electric multiple unit 130 2002–2005 72
X'Trapolis 100 Metro-liveried-XTrapolis-train-863M.jpg Electric multiple unit 140 2002–2004, 2009–2019 164 48 3-car units on order.
Sprinter Stysprint.jpg Diesel multiple unit 130 1993–1995 2 Leased from V/Line for use on the Stony Point line
IEV Track inspection carriage 115 1984 1 Converted to inspection carriage in 2011.
B class Diesel electric locomotive 115 1953 2 Leased from CFCL Australia for use on maintenance trains.
T class Diesel electric locomotive 100 1964 4 Leased from CFCL Australia for use on maintenance trains.

Former Fleet[edit]

Type Image Type Top speed
Built Number Notes
Hitachi Hitachi at Merri creek bridge.jpg Electric multiple unit 115 1972–1980 14 Refurbished 2007. Retired and stored 2014

Future plans[edit]

As part of the 2008 Victorian Transport Plan, 38 new six-car X'Trapolis EMUs have been ordered, with the first of 19 trains that are being built by Alstom in Italy arriving at the Newport Workshops on 24 August 2009.[10] The trains will be assembled at United Group's Ballarat plant, under a state government requirement for a minimum of 40% local content.[11] The new trains will only be used in revenue service on lines already cleared for their operation, with displaced trains on these lines being cascaded to those that miss out.[12] The first two sets (1M-1301T-2M and 3M-1302T-4M) have been delivered and are currently being introduced into mainstream service. The new X'Trapolis fleet have a different seating layout to the original X'Trapolis trains (2–2 instead of 3–2). Concerns from the Union regarding minor technical issues have delayed the entry to service for the trains from late 2009 to early 2010. The Siemens fleet already have a 2–2 seating layout, and as part of the franchise agreement, Metro Trains Melbourne are required to alter the seating layout of the Comeng and original X'Trapolis fleet to 2–2 seating. As part of the plan, the Victorian Government will also be purchasing next generation trains, with 30% more room.[13]

In the 2015 Victorian budget over $1.6 billion was allocated for new rolling stock. 37 high-capacity metropolitan trains (the first to be delivered in 2018), 5 X’Trapolis trains and 21 VLocity regional carriages are part of the order.[14] By 2025 the Victorain government plans to have a 100 new metropolitan trains as part of its rolling stock.[15]

In September 2016, Evolution Rail (a consortium of Downer Rail, Changchun Railway Vehicles and Plenary Group) was selected to build 65 new High Capacity Metro Trains for delivery from 2019.[16][17][18]

Lines and stations[edit]

Metro Trains Melbourne operates 16 train lines (Alamein, Belgrave, Craigieburn, Cranbourne, South Morang, Frankston, Glen Waverley, Hurstbridge, Lilydale, Pakenham, Sandringham, Stony Point, Sunbury, Upfield, Werribee and Williamstown) and 1 special events train line (Flemington Racecourse) as well as the Melbourne City Loop. They are responsible for the day-to-day operations of 212 stations. Metropolitan train stations include: terminus stations, premium stations manned by staff the entire day who provide extra assistance and information to commuters, and host stations manned only during peak hours from 07:00 to 09:30.[4]


Main article: myki

Metro Trains Melbourne uses the myki ticketing system exclusively. Myki is a time- and zone-based ticketing system, with validity periods ranging from two hours to one year, and two zones covering the Melbourne metropolitan area.

The Metcard ticketing system was decommissioned on 28 December 2012.[19][20][21]

Fare enforcement[edit]

Like the other modes of public transport in Victoria, Metro Trains Melbourne employs Authorised Officers (commonly known as "ticket inspectors") who exercise powers under the Transport (Compliance and Miscellaneous) Act 1983.[9] The main responsibilities of Authorised Officers are to report ticketing and behavioural offences to the Victorian Department of Transport, provide customer information and help during special events.

Authorised Officers are authorised by the Director of Public Transport to exercise powers similar to those of police, allowing them to check tickets and verify concession entitlements. In some circumstances, Authorised Officers may also perform arrests when aboard other vehicles operating under PTV or when on Department of Transport-owned premises, such as railway stations or train tracks.[22][23]

Authorised Officers are required to adhere to the Code of Conduct for Public Transport Authorised Officers.[24] and violations of this code are prosecuted. The Code of Conduct states that an Authorised Officer may use discretion when reporting an alleged offender, and must supply their name and work address when asked.[25] If an Authorised Officer believes that a passenger has committed an offence, they have the right to request the offender's name and address after having explained the nature of the alleged offence to the offender. The Authorised Officer also have the right to request proof of the given information. If the offender refuses to provide identification or provides false information, Authorised Officers will then contact Victoria Police. Authorised Officers also have the right to detain the offender until the police or further assistance arrives.[26]

Authorised Officers are required to submit a Report of non-compliance with the details, specific nature and circumstances of the offence to the Department of Transport, who then processes the reports and decide upon any penalties. Any fines levied are payable to the Department, not to Metro Trains Melbourne. Metro Trains Melbourne receives a small administration fee to cover the costs associated with employing Authorised Officers.[26]


Metro failed to meet Government set targets for punctuality in all of its first 9 months in operation, with almost 1 in 4 trains being late.[27]

Metro's performance improved in 2011, exceeding performance benchmarks for six consecutive months from June to November – the first time this had been achieved since December 2008.[28][29] Since April 2012, the punctuality figures have been consistently outperforming the benchmark, while the delivery figures have either exceeded or were very close to the benchmark throughout 2012 and 2013.

Legislation & governance[edit]

Transport Integration Act[edit]

The prime transport-related statute in Victoria is the Transport Integration Act. The Act establishes the Department of Transport as the integration agency for Victoria's transport system. The Act also establishes and sets the charters of the State agencies charged with providing public transport rail services and managing network access for freight services, namely the Director of Public Transport and V/Line. The Act authorises the Director of Public Transport[30] to enter into contracts for the provision of transport services and this provision is the source of the power for the contract between Metro and the Director. In addition, the Transport Integration Act establishes VicTrack which owns the public rail network and associated infrastructure. VicTrack leases public transport land and infrastructure to the Director of Public Transport who leases it to transport operators such as Metro as well as entering into franchise agreements with the operators for them to run public transport services on behalf of the State.

Rail Safety Act[edit]

Main article: Rail Safety Act

The safety of rail transport operations in Melbourne is regulated by the Rail Safety Act 2006 which applies to all commercial passenger operations.[31] The Act establishes a framework containing safety duties for all rail industry participants and requires operators who manage infrastructure and rolling stock to obtain accreditation prior to commencing operations. Accredited operators are also required to have a safety management system to guide their operations. Sanctions applying to the safety scheme established under the Rail Safety Act are contained in the Transport (Compliance and Miscellaneous) Act 1983.[32] The safety regulator for the rail system in Melbourne including trams is the Director, Transport Safety (trading as Transport Safety Victoria) whose office is established under the Transport Integration Act 2010. No blame investigations for rail matters are undertaken by the Chief Investigator, Transport Safety.

Ticketing and conduct[edit]

Ticketing requirements for trains, trams and buses in Melbourne are mainly contained in the Transport (Ticketing) Regulations 2006[33] and the Victorian Fares and Ticketing Manual.[34] Rules about safe and fair conduct on trains, trams and buses in Melbourne are generally contained in the Transport (Compliance and Miscellaneous) Act 1983[35] and the Transport (Conduct) Regulations 2005.[36]

Criticism and controversy[edit]

May 2011 timetable changes[edit]

Metro Trains updated the running schedules in May 2011 to alleviate late running (and thus penalties).[37] In reality, in many cases services were simply given a few more minutes per trip to offset any late running. In some instances, some trains are required to wait at stations mid-journey to return to schedule. Many passengers criticised this move, with some saying that effort should be placed on upgrading infrastructure to allow more efficient operation rather than padding timetables to suit the operator.

Since implementing this timetable Metro Trains have reached punctuality targets each month, and have not been required to compensate eligible passengers. The only exception to this has been May 2011, the first month of operation.


In June 2011, Melbourne's Metro Trains was voted the worst metropolitan train service in Australia in a nationwide survey by Canstar Cannex. Voting consisted of: reliability and performance, comfort of trains, safety, timetables and scheduling, and signage and announcements. The overall placings were: Transperth voted first place, Queensland Rail and Adelaide Metro voted joint second place, Sydney's CityRail voted fourth place and Metro Melbourne in fifth place. Overcrowding was cited as a particular concern.[38]


In January 2012 Metro Trains ceased using their official Twitter feed to advise of train service cancellations and disruptions, instead choosing to provide only major disruptions,[39] planned alterations to services and other announcements. Users seeking up-to-date service information were directed to use the Metro Trains website instead. This move provoked outrage from customers, many of whom considered the Twitter feed to be a more accessible source of information and see the current tweets to be nothing other than carefully worded spin.

A number of unofficial Twitter accounts have since been established providing delay and cancellation information either on a line-by-line basis or for the entire network. This information is obtained directly from Metro Trains via web scraping.

Station skipping & early service terminations[edit]

In April 2012,[40] Metro Trains has acknowledged the practice of altering stopping condition of selected late-running trains (for example, stopping all station to express) in an attempt to make up lost time (thus meeting the Operational Performance Regime[41] set by the State Government of Victoria). It has also been reported that selected services have terminated (turnaround) ahead of timetabled destination, forcing passengers to change in mid-journey. Metro Trains make these changes throughout the day, including peak hours. It claim such is for the greater good, however such can be very inconvenient to outer suburban passengers, who are forced to wait up to an hour between services.[42] These come after Metro Trains failed to meet punctuality target in February 2012 and March 2012. It has been reported that the incidence of altered services has become more frequent since the introduction of the network wide new timetables on 22 April. Reportedly, at least 129 drivers' incident reports from mid-April to May record services that have been altered in the form of changing a stopping-all-stations to express or terminating a service early.[43]

In June 2012, Metro was fined $2.7 million for January to March 2012 quarter for service performance, including skipping stations, running shorter services and bypass City Loop stations. "... but too often it had resorted to running short services or bypassing the city loop to keep to the timetable." as stated by Public Transport Victoria chief executive Ian Dobbs.[44]

Safety checks[edit]

In May 2012, Rail, Tram and Bus Union (Locomotive Division) accused Metro Trains taking shortcuts in safety procedures, including not checking on-board CCTV and intercoms, and allow trains with cracked inner glass to take passengers.[45] Metro Trains claim safety equipment is regularly checked during routine maintenance.

Live service update not showing cancelled trains[edit]

On 16 July 2012, Metro Trains launched a revamped website which included a healthboard that displayed live information about train delays and disruptions, both planned and unplanned. However, details of cancelled services were removed. Metro Trains stated that such information was still available via SMS alerts, however the number of people subscribed to the alerts plunged 60% in six months (13,000 subscribers in mid-2012 when compared to 32,000 at beginning of 2012) due to a growing preference for people to use smartphones.[46]

State Government concerned on station skipping to meet target[edit]

A ministerial document shows the State Government raised concerns that some station skipping may not be warranted. "There have been some instances where the decision appears to be not in the best interest of commuters ...".[47] "The train driver's union, Public Transport Users Association and the Opposition are calling for Metro's bonuses (worth $3.38 million last year) to be scrapped if achieved by shortcuts ... Rail, Tram and Bus Union locomotive secretary Marc Marotta said station skipping had gone from an emergency practice to a daily practice under Metro, with Frankston and Craigieburn lines the worst affected." In summary: 59 stations were skipped 3 or more times a week between 22 April 2012 and 10 October 2012; an Alamein train which skipped Glenferrie when it was a mere three minutes late; 1998 (or 0.46% of monthly trains) have altered to express since September 2012; 9 drivers have complained about passenger abuse.

Customer compensation streamlining[edit]

It was reported in 2013 that tens of thousands of passengers were missing out on compensation when Metro failed to meet monthly performance targets, either because they were not aware of their entitlements or didn’t want the hassle of going through the complicated claims system.[48] In 2012, 300,000 passengers were eligible for compensation but did not make claims. Therefore, Metro only paid out 12,000 claims worth $99,000 instead of at least $1.3 million.

Dumb Ways to Die[edit]

Main article: Dumb Ways to Die

In November 2012, Metro launched the safety campaign Dumb Ways to Die which became a global viral video hit through sharing and social media. It also produced merchandise such as posters, stickers and badges.[49] The campaign was leaked to the public several days early by a counterfeit Metro Trains Twitter account.

In May 2013, Metro released a "Dumb Ways to Die" game as an app for iPhone, iPod touch and iPad devices. The game invites players to avoid the dangerous activities engaged in by the various characters featured throughout the campaign. Within the app, players can also pledge to "not do dumb stuff around trains".[50] In November 2014, Metro released a sequel, "Dumb Ways to Die 2: the Games" which follows a similar premise as the first game in a style of various sporting events and also allows players to pledge.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Damaged train equipment found to be the cause of Glen Waverley disruption". Metro Trains Melbourne. 2 December 2009. Archived from the original on 7 December 2009. Retrieved 2 December 2009. 
  2. ^ "PTV Corporate". Public Transport Victoria. August 2012. Retrieved 11 December 2012. 
  3. ^ "Metro Trains – Who We Are". Retrieved 4 September 2013. 
  4. ^ a b "Facts & figures". Department of Transport. 20 September 2011. Retrieved 16 November 2011. 
  5. ^ "Metro Trains Melbourne: About Us". Metro Trains Melbourne. Retrieved 14 January 2010. 
  6. ^ The Age. 15 June 2011 Retrieved 17 July 2015.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  7. ^ Cooper, Mex (25 June 2009). "New train, tram operators for Melbourne". The Age. Retrieved 14 January 2010. 
  8. ^ Gardiner, Ashley (1 September 2009). "Melbourne's train system name changes from Connex to Metro". Herald Sun. Retrieved 14 January 2010. 
  9. ^ a b "Department of Transport: Who's who in Victoria's public transport network". Department of Transport, State Government of Victoria, Australia. Retrieved 14 January 2010. 
  10. ^ Gardiner, Ashley (25 August 2009). "First of new trains arrives in Melbourne". Herald Sun. Retrieved 14 January 2010. 
  11. ^ VICSIG: Suburban Trains – X'Trapolis, accessed: 12 August 2009
  12. ^ "Limited run for new Melbourne trains". ABC. 28 July 2009. Retrieved 14 January 2010. 
  13. ^ "The Victorian Transport Plan: New Trains and Trams". Retrieved 14 January 2010. 
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^ "New $2 billion train deal to create 1000 local jobs". The Age. 12 September 2016. 
  17. ^ 1,100 Jobs with 65 New Trains Built in Victoria, For Victoria Premier of Victoria 12 September 2016
  18. ^ Evolution Rail to supply Melbourne high capacity EMUs Railway Gazette International 12 September 2016
  19. ^ "From Saturday 29 December, myki is the only way to go – Public Transport Victoria". Public Transport Victoria. 28 December 2012. Retrieved 4 January 2013. 
  20. ^ "Fixing myki to get Victoria's transport ticketing system back on track". Office of the Premier of Victoria. 21 June 2011. Retrieved 26 December 2011. 
  21. ^ "Metropolitan fares and tickets – Metlink – Your guide to public transport in Melbourne and Victoria". Metlink Melbourne. 20 December 2011. Retrieved 26 December 2011. 
  22. ^ Department of Infrastructure: Authorised Officers
  23. ^ "Authorised Officers – Metlink – Your guide to public transport in Melbourne and Victoria". Metlink Melbourne. 10 November 2011. Retrieved 26 December 2011. 
  24. ^ "Authorised Officers". Department of Transport. 16 August 2011. Retrieved 26 December 2011. 
  25. ^ Department of Infrastructure: Code of Conduct for Authorised Officers
  26. ^ a b Metlink Melbourne: FAQs
  27. ^ Lucas, Clay (31 May 2010). "Metro extends unbroken monthly record". The Age. Melbourne. Retrieved 1 June 2010. 
  28. ^ "Performance on target, customer satisfaction up – Metro Trains Melbourne". 10 November 2011. Retrieved 16 November 2011. 
  29. ^ "Performance on track – Metro Trains Melbourne". 9 December 2011. Retrieved 11 December 2011. 
  30. ^ Transport Integration Act, section 68(1)(b).
  31. ^ Official copy of the Rail Safety Act from the Victorian Government legislation web site –$FILE/06-9a016.pdf
  32. ^ See Part 7 of the Act. Official copy of the Transport (Compliance and Miscellaneous) Act 1983 from the official Victorian Government legislation site –$FILE/83-9921a153.pdf
  33. ^ Transport (Ticketing) Regulations 2006
  34. ^ Victorian Fares and Ticketing Manual – Metlink – Your guide to public transport in Melbourne and Victoria
  35. ^ Victorian Law Today Act
  36. ^ Victorian Law Today Statutory Rule
  37. ^ "New Metro Trains timetable starts Sunday". Metro Trains. 11 May 2011. Retrieved 22 January 2012. 
  38. ^ "Metro voted the worst train service in Australia". Herald Sun. 15 June 2011. Retrieved 8 February 2013. 
  39. ^ "Travellers train anger on tweets". The Age. 5 January 2012. Retrieved 22 January 2012. 
  40. ^ "Train drivers ordered to skip stations". Herald Sun. 19 April 2012. Retrieved 16 May 2012. 
  41. ^ "Performance monitoring". Public Transport Victoria. 22 April 2012. Retrieved 17 May 2012. 
  42. ^ "Blind woman fights for right to know as trains come and go amid confusion". The Age. 5 April 2012. Retrieved 17 May 2012. 
  43. ^ "Trains skip stations to evade fines". The Age. 25 May 2012. Retrieved 25 May 2012. 
  44. ^ "Skipping stations adds to Metro's record fine". The Age. 19 June 2012. Retrieved 19 June 2012. 
  45. ^ "Union claims Metro taking shortcuts on safety". Herald Sun. 12 May 2012. Retrieved 16 May 2012. 
  46. ^ "Metro's website drops cancelled train updates". The Age. 18 July 2012. Retrieved 18 July 2012. 
  47. ^ "State Government concerned Metro is skipping stations at passengers expense to hit targets". Herald Sun. 16 April 2012. Retrieved 16 April 2012. 
  48. ^ "Metro rip-off sees 100,000 commuters missing out of ticket compensation each month". Herald Sun. 14 July 2013. Retrieved 15 July 2013. 
  49. ^ "Metro's tongue-in-cheek transport safety animated video goes viral on social media". The Age. 19 November 2012. 
  50. ^ Dumb Ways to Die Is Now a Video Game for the iPhone and iPad, Adweek, May 17, 2013

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Connex Melbourne
Railways in Melbourne
Succeeded by