Melbourne’s next generation of trains appear set to take transport integration to a new level, with provision for bikes baked in to the design from the outset.
Bicycle Network recently inspected the latest full-scale mock-up of the carriages and came away impressed by the effort to make our future metropolitan trains more bike friendly.
In a warehouse hidden away in an industrial estate in the far south-eastern suburbs, the new train interior layouts are being tested out by the future users—prodded, measured, bumped, and sat on.
Even bikes have been wheeled in and asked for their take: yes, and they like the colour of the seats, apparently.
Sixty-five of the new high capacity metro trains (HCMT) have been ordered and will hit the tracks starting mid-2019, at an all up cost of $2.3B include new stabling and maintenance facilities and training simulators.
The new trains have more capacity, and in particular, better provision for bikes.
The carriages have several configurations, and the first car will have special facilities for the disabled at the first door, but accessibility features continue through the train.
Current design iterations show bike-pram signs on the relevant doors.
At various locations seat layouts will provide areas for bikes to be positioned against fold up seats, and held in position with velcro straps if required.
The preferred bike locations will be signed.
Overall, the interior spaces are very flexible, acknowledging that people with prams, bikes, rolling suitcases, not to mention Eskies, will be regular users.
Such flexible layouts will be best utilised when train travellers get accustomed to the new carriages, and realise that some spaces are better suited to wheelchairs, bikes, prams or typical commuters.