A technology which has been used overseas to improve the safety and accessibility of train stations is set to be deployed in Australia for the first time on a huge Sydney rail project.

In its latest announcement, the New South Wales Government says that Sydney Metro has contracted South Korean firm Hyundai Movex to design and install 150 gap fillers at eight existing stations between Marrickville in Sydney’s inner west and Bankstown in Sydney’s south-west.

The company will also supply 360 platform screen doors for the stations.

When combined, the two features will help to improve safety and accessibility on station platforms.

The mechanical gap fillers prevent people and objects falling between the gaps between trains and platforms when boarding the train.

Meanwhile, the platform screen doors will help to prevent people and objects from falling off platforms and onto tracks.

When a train arrives at a station, the mechanical gap fillers will automatically extend from the platform to the train before the platform screen doors open.

This will allow for safe and easy access for all customers between platforms and trains without passengers needing to manage the gap between the platform and the train.

Whilst the rollout will be the first of its kind in Australia, platform gap fillers are being used in several countries overseas.

This includes on many regional trains in Germany, in South Korea, on some Japanese railway stations and on some lines in Singapore.

Their installation, however, has not always gone to plan.

In Hong Kong, a planned rollout of gap fillers was abandoned after a 2009 trial found that the 15 to 20 seconds which were taken for the filler to fully extend increased the dwell time of trains at stations.

Sydney Metro Chief Executive Peter Regan said the new technology has been custom designed for the curved platforms of the T3 Bankstown line.

Ragan said the platform screen doors and mechanical gap fillers have undergone a year-long testing program in a variety of Sydney weather conditions.

He said Hyundai Movex – whose gap filler technology is also used on metro systems in South Korea – was selected based on the performance, reliability and safety of their products.

Hyundai Movex will work with its partners in Australia, including Ricardo Rail to deliver the mechanical gap fillers and platform screen doors this year.

(The mechanical gap fillers have been tested for various Sydney weather conditions.)

The latest announcement is part of a broader upgrade of the Bankstown Line to bring all stations between Marrickville and Bankstown up to standards of Sydney Metro – a monumental public transport project which will deliver four new metro lines, 46 stations and 113 kilometres of new rail and will connect Sydney’s north- west, west, south-west and greater west to fast, reliable turn up and go metro services with fully accessible stations.

The upgrade of the Bankstown Line will also mean that all ten stations between Marrickville and Bankstown will have lifts.

This includes Punchbowl, Wiley Park, Canterbury, Hurlstone Park and Dulwich Hall, which will be made accessible for the first time.


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