Maintaining railway assets across metropolitan Melbourne

Overview

Objective

To determine whether railways in metropolitan Melbourne are maintained to deliver safe, reliable and punctual train services for commuters.  

Issues

Melbourne operates a fleet of 226 six‐carriage trains over 998 kilometres of track on 15 regular‐service train lines and one special-events train line. As public transport patronage increases so does the need for well-maintained rail infrastructure to ensure services remain safe and reliable. 

This infrastructure is also increasingly under stress from extreme weather. On hot days, trains are frequently cancelled due to rail infrastructure defects. A 2018 report prepared for DELWP estimated transport sector losses from extreme heatwave events at $13 million per event. Disruptions also occur when heavy rains flood tracks and stations. 

Victorian Rail Track (VicTrack) owns metropolitan rail assets on behalf of the state, which it leases to DoT. DoT then leases the assets to the train franchisee, Metro Trains Melbourne, and pays it for maintenance and renewal works. 

Our December 2016 report Managing the Performance of Rail Franchisees found that Public Transport Victoria—now part of DoT—had significant gaps in its asset management strategies and had more work to do to meet the DTF’s Asset Management Accountability Framework. This audit will examine how well DoT, VicTrack, V/Line and Metro Trains Melbourne have dealt with rail asset maintenance challenges, including their oversight and prioritisation of asset maintenance activities.

Proposed agencies

DoT, VicTrack and V/Line.

Associated entity

Metro Trains Melbourne.

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