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Metro Trains Melbourne (MTM) is the franchise operator of the suburban rail network of Melbourne, Australia. MTM is a joint venture between the Hong Kong based MTM Corporation, John Holland Group and UGL Rail.

MTM was awarded an eight-year franchise, with the option of being extended for a further seven years, to operate the network by the Director of Public Transport on behalf of the State Government of Victoria in 2009.

In April 2012, the newly created Public Transport Victoria took over the management of the contract from the Director of Public Transport.

MTM have engaged Network Rail Consulting to undertake a review into the safety, adequacy, effectiveness, efficiency and robustness of the electrical switching, isolation and permit system used on the 22/11kV A.C., 1500V D.C and 2.2kV A.C. (including other signaling distribution voltage) power systems, taking into account electrical industry best practice and develop a set of recommendations to improve the system, process and procedures towards best practice.

Analyse the safety, adequacy, effectiveness, efficiency and robustness of the electrical switching and permit system used in Metro Trains on the 22kV a.c., 1500V d.c. and 2.2kV a.c. power systems, taking into account electrical industry best practice. The review included the development a set of recommendations to improve the system, process and procedures aligned to best practice.

The scope of the review included:

  • The systems, processes, and procedures used in undertaking and controlling electrical switching and the issue of electrical permits;
  • The use of switching sheets and programmes;
  • The issue, acceptance and cancellation of electrical permits;
  • The control of the electrical switching process and the role of Electrol;
  • The communication between Electrol and field staff;
  • The role of the switching operator and checker;
  • The isolation and earthing process;
  • The culture and discipline displayed in the execution of the electrical switching process and issue of electrical permits;
  • The role an Electrical Switching Committee would play;
  • Whether any restrictive work practices are in place that negatively affect safety, process effectiveness and/or the efficiency of electrical switching;
  • How the system, process and procedures meet the requirements of the Metro Trains Electrical Safety Management System and in particular the requirements of the Victorian Traction Industry Electrical Safety Rules (the ‘Orange Book’).
  • What opportunities exist for improvements in the efficiency of the electrical switching and electrical permits system, process and associated procedures; 

How human factors affect the system and if adequate consideration has been made

NRC’s independent expert reviewer was Mark Devereux. NRC’s reviewer worked with MTM, spending time with management and engineering staff at the MTM headquarters. This involved conducting interviews with key delivery and operating staff at depots and control rooms respectively and witnessing isolation and earthing activities first hand, on-site. Prior to and during the review, current documentation, processes and procedures were examined and assessed along with staff capability, competence and training.

Client: Metro Trains Melbourne

Location: Melbourne

Start date: 6 June 2016

End date: July 2016

Duration: 1 Month

Services provided: Review into the safety, adequacy, effectiveness, efficiency and robustness of the electrical switching, isolation and permit system.