Re: Firefighter fears over Sydney metro tunnels spark lifting of alert level

How long has the metro been operating now? Nearly 4 years and they should
have had all this worked out BEFORE it opened?


On Wednesday, 15 March 2023 at 19:59:43 UTC+11 Greg Sutherland wrote:




> NSW’s fire agency will require triple the number of fire engines to be

> sent to incidents on Sydney’s multibillion-dollar Metro Northwest rail line

> after firefighters warned they will have difficulty accessing tunnels in

> emergencies.


> Leaked minutes of a meeting with the private operator of the 36-kilometre Metro

> Northwest line


> show that specialist firefighters from the state’s rail emergency response

> unit raised concerns about “access strategies when responding to incidents”

> in the tunnels.

> [image: Commuters board a driverless train at Castle Hill station on the

> Metro Northwest line.]


> Commuters board a driverless train at Castle Hill station on the Metro

> Northwest line.Credit:Ben Symons


> The unease at the meeting in November centred on how to get large numbers

> of emergency workers and equipment into the line’s twin tunnels, which

> extend for more than 27 kilometres. The Metro Northwest line between

> Tallawong and Chatswood opened in 2019


> and incorporated the Epping-to-Chatswood link.


> A Sydney Metro official at the meeting, which included NSW Police and Fire

> and Rescue NSW, acknowledged that “everyone’s anxious” about the expansion

> of the metro network


> the minutes show.


> Several weeks ago Fire and Rescue NSW increased the required number of

> fire engines that will have to respond to an incident on the Northwest

> Metro from two to six appliances, as well as a duty commander.


> Fire Brigade Employees Union state secretary Leighton Drury said the need

> to increase the number of fire trucks and personnel highlighted

> firefighters’ concerns about a lack of suitable resources and plans for

> responding to emergencies and rescues in Sydney’s metro rail tunnels.


> “It is imperative that the state government and Sydney Metro provide

> firefighters the resources they need to protect the travelling public,” he

> said.


> The leaked minutes also reveal that an exercise at Central Station had

> “identified a gap in communication” about the roles of wardens during

> emergencies at so-called interchange stations at which both driverless

> metro and double-decker trains stop.

> Advertisement


> Emergency procedures at interchange stations such as Chatswood and Epping

> need to be co-ordinated between the private operator of the metro line and

> the state-run Sydney Trains.


> Fire and Rescue NSW said the agency continually reviewed resourcing needs

> for critical infrastructure such as metro rail lines, “taking into

> consideration feedback provided from our firefighters, Sydney Metro and our

> other emergency management partners”.

> [image: Firefighters have raised concerns about accessing the metro rail

> tunnels in an emergency.]


> Firefighters have raised concerns about accessing the metro rail tunnels

> in an emergency.Credit:Flavio Brancaleone


> Unlike the Sydney Trains network, Metro Northwest does not have a

> dedicated emergency response unit similar to the one based at Central

> Station, which keeps watch over the underground rail network


> in the CBD used by double-decker trains. The unit operates fire trucks

> fitted with wheels that can run on rail tracks to get to incidents quickly,

> as well as battery-powered track trolleys to transport equipment and

> emergency workers along lines.


> Sydney Metro said in a statement that the Northwest line had been designed

> to “allow fast, safe, high-capacity” trains to be used to access emergency

> incidents from an adjacent tunnel.

> Related Article

> [image: A cross-passage on the Metro City and Southwest rail line.]



> Sydney Metro

> Major backflip on emergency exits for Sydney Metro rail tunnels



> “This provides a much faster response than track trolleys, which move at

> very slow speeds,” the agency said.


> “Metro systems have a very high level of fire and life safety provisions

> designed into the network and require a different approach to managing

> incidents compared to traditional rail systems.”


> Metro Trains Sydney, the private consortium led by Hong Kong’s MTR

> Corporation


> that operates the Northwest line, said access to the tunnels could be

> gained at shafts that could be opened remotely for emergency workers.


> “These access points are located approximately every 240 metres of each

> tunnel, enabling emergency services to access the tunnels and bring in

> equipment as required,” Metro Trains Sydney chief executive Daniel Williams

> said.


> A report for Transport for NSW in 2018 – a year before the Northwest Metro

> opened – said the operator of the new line would need to provide its

> emergency response unit with “capabilities equivalent” to that of the

> firefighting team based at Central for Sydney Trains.


> However, Williams said that, unlike some rail networks, a dedicated

> response unit was not needed for the Metro Northwest line due to the line’s

> “modern design and safety features”.


> Fire and Rescue NSW deputy commissioner Jeremy Fewtrell said the agency

> was working closely with Sydney Metro to ensure the safety of firefighters,

> commuters and railway staff.


> “We are committed to making sure there are workable solutions to any

> safety issues identified, and we are in regular contact with Sydney Metro

> and the Office of the National Rail Safety Regulator to achieve this,” he

> said.