August 13, 2020

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Spy Tram Keeps Melbourne Tram Network in Top Condition

Australia Spy Tram
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A specially-equipped tram has been scouring Melbourne’s tram network at night in order to inform future maintenance and infrastructure works.

According to a recent press release, the ‘spy tram’, as it is more popularly known, has travelled 500 kilometres surveying the entire Melbourne tram network in order to collect data on the condition of key tram infrastructure such as tracks, wires and tram stops.

About the Spy Tram

  • The spy tram is able to gather information about the condition of different assets by using state-of-the-art 3D lasers, sensors, and cameras.
  • This equipment is attached to the top, bottom, front, back, and sides of a B-Class tram, with data mapped accurately using GPS.
  • Every tiny detail is captured and analysed. Data collected includes the smoothness of the rail and even the point where foliage like weeds are coming up.
  • With more people using public transport than ever before, planning infrastructure upgrades need to be prioritised better than ever to limit disruption and ensure reliable journeys.
  • Yarra Trams has been using this approach in conjunction with physical inspections since 2010. Doing so helps them identify and assist in prioritisation of maintenance and renewal works for network infrastructure.
  • The spy tram is vital to ensuring the longevity of Melbourne’s tram network, which covers Lygon Street, Toorak Road and Plenty Road.

Background

There have been 25 significant maintenance and renewal works across the network since 2018.

Since 2017, Yarra Trams has been conducting these surveys twice a year, using the latest data capture technology from Europe.

It will be able to prioritise works better for the next five to 15 years as more data are being collected.

Minister for Public Transport Melissa Horne explained that they have the largest tram network in the world and the latest technology is being used to keep it running safely and get passengers where they need to go.

More than AU$ 81 million is invested in maintaining and upgrading the iconic tram network every year and the spy tram plays an important role in making sure that they know what needs to be fixed and upgraded.

The team at Yarra Trams works around the clock to ensure that the network is in the best condition it can be, to keep Melbourne moving.

Spy tram data is already being used to help priorities upcoming works and better plan renewals along every route.

A Future Global Leader in Hydrogen

  • In other news, work has commenced in the Latrobe Valley on a new facility for the world’s largest hydrogen export pilot project, setting Victoria up as a future global leader in hydrogen.
  • In this new facility, Latrobe Valley brown coal will be turned into hydrogen gas as part of the world-first Hydrogen Energy Supply Chain (HESC) Pilot.
  • The hydrogen gas will then be transported to Port of Hastings where it will be liquefied and shipped to Japan for use in fuel cell vehicles and power generation.
  • Backed by the Victorian Government, the HESC Pilot will boost local industry knowledge and expertise in the production and use of hydrogen, while also boosting jobs.
  • This has the potential to put Victoria at the forefront of the fast-growing hydrogen industry, which is expected to be worth $2.5 trillion globally by 2050.
  • The pilot is expected to create 400 jobs in the Latrobe Valley and Hastings regions across the life of the project, with the potential for thousands more if the project proceeds to the commercial phase.
  • The HESC Pilot Project is being developed by a consortium of Japan’s top energy and infrastructure companies.
  • It will be required to offset all the minimal greenhouse gases produced. Successful carbon capture and storage is a necessary condition for the program to progress to full commercial scale.
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