Victoria’s Cranbourne and Pakenham train lines will soon use high-capacity signalling (HCS) to increase the number and frequency of trains.

Crews will begin installing the new HCS equipment along the lines from mid-December 2021, which will be one of the final pieces of the puzzle to deliver a true ‘turn up and go’ network when the Metro Tunnel opens in 2025. HCS is a new signalling system that enables trains to safely run closer together, meaning they can travel more frequently. 

The project will install 55km of signalling, which will allow trains to run every two to three minutes, and has been designed to replace the current system, which uses coloured signals to indicate when it is safe for a train to proceed.

Crews will test the signalling equipment at various points along the Cranbourne and Pakenham lines over eleven days, to ensure it’s operating correctly and installed in the right location. 

Testing on the lines between Caulfield and Westall stations has already commenced, to examine communication between signalling equipment on the ground and on the train.

Buses will replace trains on some sections of the Cranbourne, Pakenham and Frankston lines from 8.30pm on Tuesday 14 December until the last service on Thursday 23 December while the signalling and testing works take place.

Coaches will replace evening trains on the Gippsland Line on Tuesday 14 December, and all services from 15 to 23 December, between Southern Cross and Pakenham stations.

Further testing along the Cranbourne and Pakenham lines will get underway in March 2022 with the new High-Capacity Metro Trains (HCMTs). 

The signalling system will operate 65 of the new high-capacity trains, which will run on the Sunbury to Cranbourne and Pakenham lines via the Metro Tunnel. 

The additional testing will ensure the signalling system and the new trains, as well as freight and V/Line trains, can safely run alongside the existing system.

Once complete, the Metro Tunnel project will create room for 121,000 passengers every week on the Cranbourne and Pakenham lines, and save passengers travelling from Cranbourne or Pakenham up to 15 minutes off a journey to Parkville, or up to 25 minutes off a journey to St Kilda Road.

Further information about the high-tech signalling works on the Pakenham and Cranbourne lines can be found online at: bigbuild.vic.gov.au.

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