By Casey Neill
A Dandenong worker is among the stars of a new television series on railways.
Chris Barnett was in charge of testing the VLocity trains built at Bombardier Transportation’s Dandenong manufacturing facility.
He will appear in episode nine of Railroad Australia on the Discovery Channel on Thursday 21 September.
“As part of the commissioning process at the end of the build, V/Line sends a driver out to put it through its paces,” he told the Journal.
“There’s a section of track that we use for testing out past Pakenham, where there’s straight and level track.
“We know it will give reliable data.”
Mr Barnett said testing took place in off-peak times, between Tynong and Nar Nar Goon.
“Primarily we’re looking to make sure it will run as designed without any faults appearing,” he said.
There’s also a high-speed test to ensure the brakes are working.
He brings the train to a stop from 160 kilometres an hour.
“The train would need to pull up in about 800 metres,” he said.
“Very exact equip measures the stopping distances.
“They’re the most modern train so they’re quite, they’re comfortable, they’re smooth.
“They’ve got all the creature comforts of a modern vehicle.”
Mr Barnett’s dad worked on the Victorian railways in the 1960s.
“Growing up he gave myself and my brother a bit of an interest in the railways, I guess,” he said.
“I met a friend, socially, who was a trainee electric train driver.
“He pointed me in the right direction for approaching the railways to see if there were any jobs going.”
Mr Barnett became a trainee in 2000. He enjoys the variety of the job.
“You’re not sitting behind a desk doing a mundane job day-in, day-out,” he said.
He also likes the responsibility.
“We’ve got time constraint pressures,” he said.
“Every kid growing up wants to be train driver and I never grew out of it.”
He hopes Railroad Australia gives passengers an insight to the system.
“I hope they feel safe travelling on our network because they can see how much effort goes on behind the scenes,” he said.