Seventy-seven engineers

Have you ever wondered how many different types of engineers it takes to bring revolutionary signalling technology to Melbourne, in order to run more trains, more often in the Metro Tunnel?

Well, it’s 77 different kinds – and that’s without counting scores more building tunnels and stations, too.

The Rail Systems Alliance – which is responsible for the signalling and technology “brains” of Melbourne’s flagship public project – has an incredibly diverse and capable group of experts delivering this work.

High Capacity Signalling will be installed on the Cranbourne/Pakenham and Sunbury lines, and in the Metro Tunnel itself, creating a more reliable public transport network.

Real-time data will be used to oversee and control both the location and speed, allowing trains to run closer together.

Network operators, based at high-tech signalling control centres in Sunshine and Dandenong, will monitor their progress, to ensure trains maintain safe stopping distances.

The engineers delivering this work are passionate about providing positive outcomes for train passengers, using their passion for maths, science and problem-solving.

Integrating new technology into an existing rail network can be both complex and challenging work.

Indeed, when completed, this change to signalling on Melbourne’s metropolitan network is the biggest experienced for more than 100 years.

Automation engineer Da Lu is passionate about providing positive outcomes for Melburnians, and an opportunity to be part of a landmark project was one he just couldn’t turn down.

“We all love Melbourne,” he said. “Instead of just witnessing the history here, we want to be part of that.

“People in the future won’t need to wait for trains, or check the timetable, they can just show up and jump on the train.”

Signal engineer Liza Kierans appreciates the variety and complexity of her position.

“In my role, I get to be a problem-solver daily,” she said. “Every day is different and novel, and our interactions with people are different, due to the problems we’re trying to solve.”

For engineers such as Liza, this project is one they will never forget.

“Success for me is getting (High Capacity Signalling) into Melbourne for the first time ever,” she said.

“I think this project will show people that signalling is something you can actually cut a ribbon on.” •

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