Security in the City Loop (or lack thereof)

Welcome to Melbourne Central Station, where on Wednesday night the first of Ted Baillieu’s Protective Services Officers started duty, protecting passengers from the hoards of evildoers who descend on the station after 6 PM.

How many PSOs does it take to guard Melbourne Central Station?

Meanwhile at the next station over, some vandals managed to make their way into Parliament Station after the last train, and spray paint the walls with graffiti.

Tags spray painted along the walls at Parliament station

More vandalism at Parliament station, this time on platform 2

So how the hell did the the vandals get in there? Getting in via the tunnels after the last train has run is the most likely explanation, since this security vulnerability has been frequently abused by both graffiti vandals and urban explorers since the City Loop has opened.

The evidence of previous trespassers inside the tunnels is easy to see from a slow moving train – many tunnel walls have are covered with scrawled graffiti instead of bare concrete. You can also see the evidence on websites dedicated to urban exploration in Australia, where I found a dozen or so photos taken inside suspiciously familiar looking railway tunnels.

An example of urban explorers making their way into the City Loop is this photo, supposedly taken back 2004, showing a Connex liveried Comeng train at the junction of the Clifton Hill and City Circle Loop tunnels, just a short distance from Parliament Station. (to avoid any unwanted attention I’m not going to link back to the original photographer)

Trespassing in the City Loop, circa 2004

So if someone back in 2004 got into the City Loop tunnels, why aren’t we seeing every man and their dog down there today? The reason is a round of security upgrades carried out in 2005/06 for the Commonwealth Games.

The most obvious change was the addition of dozens of new CCTV cameras at each underground stations and the installation of new directional signage inside the tunnels themselves. Another less visible change was the upgrade of alarm systems to each emergency exit, and improved motion detector systems to pick up trespassers trying to walk down the tunnels.

Glow in the dark emergency exit signage in the Northern Loop between Parliament station and the portal

So did the security upgrades work? The number of people sneaking in to take photos seem to have dried up, but Wednesday’s vandals still found a way to get in. The security arms race continues…

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4 Responses to “Security in the City Loop (or lack thereof)”

  1. mich says:

    Real vandals don’t care about the risk of being caught. Particularly if they have no jobs or money to lose, and they qualify for legal aid.

    Security would be a much greater deterent to the curious photographer, explorer, or person with engineering interests.

  2. Strop says:

    As a Urban Explorer I know the deterrent of Security. But if you really want to get into somewhere it is not hard normally. And the general public would be surprised by the amount of keys that are floating around the UE community. But the majority of us stick to the motto of ‘Take nothing but photos and leave nothing but footprints’.

    • Benny says:

      Hello i 2 am a keen Urban Explorer living in Melbourne only been at it for a year i love it,
      I am looking for people to join up with and go exploring together i have lots off cool info on sites i haven’t explored yet,

      If your intrested just send me a email.
      Happy exploring.

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