SUPER-sized trains could run on Melbourne's rails under a Metro plan to cope with booming patronage.
The idea, raised in private talks with the State Government, would involve having trains nine carriages long on the Dandenong line.
Platforms would be extended to accommodate trains about 70m longer than today's.
There would also be an impact on signals and overhead lines.
But not all stations would need platform extensions: longer trains could run express, bypassing stations with shorter platforms.
Cost estimates are yet to be completed; nor have matters such as parking been considered. But Metro engineers believe it can be done.
The proposal is revealed in minutes of private meetings in January and March, seen by the Herald Sun.
They also reveal that:
RISING patronage will "open the debate into removing seats and changing load standards".
A REPORT has been done on cracking in the City Loop.
ESCALATORS could be used for advertising space.
FEWER ticket inspectors are on the books than are needed, at a time when fare evasion is increasing.
METRO has handed over a list of the top 50 stations for armed-guard deployment.
AN independent passenger authority is being looked at.
Public Transport Minister Terry Mulder said squeezing in extra services by better signalling was an option.
"Nine-car suburban trains, or improved signalling, are among the options on the table for the Dandenong line in the medium term," he said.
"Both would be costly. Both require grade separations (removal of level crossings)."
Squeezing in extra trains means increased boom gate operation, leading to traffic disruption.
This would require earlier removal of level crossings, making it the more expensive option.
Metro's Geraldine Mitchell said it was analysing the network and finding ways to maximise infrastructure use.
"The option of nine-car trains, which is still under investigation, would enable us to increase capacity where it is needed the most," she said.
I'm assuming they won't run via the City Loop, and they'll use platform 10 at Flinders Street, but where would they be stabled, and what grade-seps would be required?