Consultation takes a canine twist on new trains

Published: 9 October 2017

Victorian guide dogs are among the first to experience a full scale physical model of Melbourne's next-generation High Capacity Metro Trains.

Guide Dogs Victoria is among 14 accessibility groups who are currently experiencing and evaluating a 39-metre model train over the next month, as part of Evolution Rail's year-long consultation program.

Deaf Victoria, Council on the Aging, Spina Bifida Foundation Victoria, Scope and the Public Transport Access Committee are among a range of groups involved in evaluation sessions to be held over this month.

They are evaluating features including doors, seats, lighting, electronic signage, straps, handrails and more.

These groups have provided input into the new train's design over the past year, and will now be on board to evaluate key operational, passenger and accessibility features before the design is finalised and major production commences at the start of next year.

Pam Haigh and her guide dog Bryl travelled from Warragul to participate in a recent evaluation session. 'Opportunities like today are great,' Pam said.

'It's so important that we can be involved, find out more about the design and see how the dog goes.'

Melbourne's 65 High Capacity Metro Trains will be assembled in Victoria, resulting in more than 1,100 jobs, including throughout the local supply chain.

The new bigger, better trains will enter service from mid-2019 on the Cranbourne and Pakenham lines and eventually run through the Metro Tunnel to Sunbury.

The trains will be almost 160 metres long and able to carry 20 per cent more passengers than existing trains.

Keep up to date with the High Capacity Metro Trains Project via the project's newsletter.

Video transcript

Guide dogs evaluate Victoria's new bigger, better train

[Title:  Bigger trains for a better Melbourne]

[Vision:  Interior of carriage - guide dog leading man to seat]

Karen Hayes - CEO - Guide Dogs Victoria

People who are blind or have low vision, public transport is very important to them in terms of their independence and mobility.

So we've got a number of our clients here today, which has been fantastic.

[Vision:  Guide dogs in carriage - man speaking with Jacinta Allan - guide dogs]

So they are going to have a look at the mock-up of the train and provide some very valuable input in terms of ensuring that it meets the requirements that they have in terms of room for their guide dogs, rails to lead them to the exit of the trains.

[Vision:  Karen Hayes speaking - people in carriage - guide dog entering carriage]

The whole experience of going on the train an enjoyable one; and it ensures the easy accessibility for people who are blind or have low vision.

[Vision:  Guide dogs - ladies speaking with Jacinta Allan]

Jacinta Allan - Minister for Public Transport

Guide Dogs Victoria and their clients have provided really valuable input.

And it's really important that people who are going to use these trains get the chance to have their say on the final design.

[Vision:  Guide dogs leading people to seats]

Pam Haigh - Client - Guide Dogs Australia

I love the space between the seats, the aisle.

Normally we struggle to go down the aisle of the train.

[Vision:  Pam Haigh and guide dog in carriage]

And the disabled seats were very good.

[Vision:  Pam Haigh tucking guide dog under seat]

We were able to tuck the dog in underneath the seats.

There's no rails underneath so it keeps the dogs pretty safe.

Irena Cheeseman - Client - Guide Dogs Australia

I think the trains are really, really good.

And I love the bright colours it's easily seen.

[Vision:  Exterior of carriage - people entering carriage]

And the extra handrails that are there, and the extra space I think they're pretty well set up.

[Vision:  Guide dogs - Irena Cheeseman speaking]

She was a little bit naughty but I think she will get used to it.

Yes.

[Vision:  Guide dogs]

It's been very exciting for her today.

[VICTORIA State Government]

[Speaker:  Authorised by Victorian Government, 1 Treasury Place, Melbourne]