Safe Access Solution for Train Maintenance: Downer EDI Rail’s Success Story


Train maintenance is a critical task that requires specialised equipment and trained personnel. The Auburn Maintenance Centre in Sydney maintains several trains, including the Waratah Trains, Sydney Growth Trains, and the Millennium Trains.

One of the biggest challenges faced by the maintenance team was the safe access to the front of the trains for maintenance purposes, which included windscreen replacement, windscreen wiper replacement and repair, headlights, EDD, hornwell area, and emergency door repair.

Previous maintenance solutions required platforms to be stacked, secured, and carefully maneuvered into place without damaging the rollingstock or touching the overhead line equipment. Not only was the process tedious, but it increased safety risks to the workshop’s team.

To address this challenge, Downer EDI Rail, a leading provider of integrated rail solutions, identified the main issues on-site and what was needed to overcome the challenges, including:

  • Ensuring that the platform could be used on all maintenance roads.
  • Making the platform adjustable in height provides access to all areas across the front of the train.
  • Ensuring that the platform stayed clear of the OHLE.
  • Providing access back to where the handstand is level with the TOR (Top of Rail).
  • Ensuring that the platform provided access to the front of the train regardless of its final stopping location.

Downer EDI Rail partnered with SafeSmart Access, a leading provider of access solutions in the industry, to create an innovative platform design that met their specific requirements. The experienced engineering team collaborated closely with the client to develop the solution, resulting in a safe and efficient platform that exceeded their expectations.


The solution was designed to fit the curved front profile of the trains and allowed for winching height adjustment rather than the stacking of platforms. This provided safe access to all areas across the front of the train, eliminating the need for the previous impractical vertical access.

The platform maintained stair access across the range of platform heights, significantly increasing safety and efficiency by allowing personnel to carry tools and parts up to the platform. To achieve this SafeSmart Access used our proprietary self-levelling stair design. Stair access allows the user to keep their hands free, as opposed to a ladder angle of access which requires 3 points of contact for safe operation.

The success of the solution was evident in the client's feedback. Downer EDI was delighted with the build's quality, the design's functionality, and how well it fit the train's curved front profile. The platform's success led to its application at the Pakenham Maintenance Facility in Melbourne, where a couple of units are already underway for shipping.


All in all, the success of SafeSmart's solution in providing safe access to the front of trains for maintenance purposes is a testament to the power of consultation, expertise, and industry know-how to solve specific problems.

The innovative platform design provided winching height adjustment and stair access across the range of platform heights, making it a safer and more practical solution over past workarounds.

Equipped with the latest safety platform innovations and expert design by SafeSmart, Downer EDI Rail's workshop teams can now maintain their trains with greater efficiency and confidence.

With the success of this project, Downer EDI Rail is now ready to take on its next maintenance job with ease. Like the trains it maintains, Downer EDI Rail has powered ahead in providing safe access solutions for its team.


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