Those little plastic bumps along railway platforms

Have you ever wondered about those little plastic bumps along the edge of railway station platforms, and how they are installed?

You missed a spot! (or dozen!)

Officially known as Tactile Ground Surface Indicators (TGSIs), installing the little plastic things takes a whole crew of workers.

Installing tactile edge markings along platform 2 at Ascot Vale

First the old yellow painted line is ground off the platform.

Old yellow line ground off, ready for the tactile edge markings

Then a steel straightedge is temporarily bolted into place.

Steel rail forms a guide rail for the hole drilling

This provides a guide for the hole drilling.

A whole lot of holes drilled, a 'hole' lot more to go

A special drilling rig is required to create the holes with the correct spacing.

Drilling holes into the asphalt so that the plastic 'bumps' can be installed

Meanwhile another staff members is the lookout for approaching trains.

Metro staff watch for approaching trains, as work continues on drilling the holes

Once all of the holes are drilled an interesting looking grid appears.

Holes drilled for tactile edge markings, the plastic dimples yet to be installed

And now the boring bit commences – hammering in each plastic dimple one by one.

The boring bit: hammering in a little plastic dimple into each and every hole

Down the middle runs a yellow line, with orange either side.

And even less work on the plastic dimples here!

The different workers attack their part of the work in different ways.

A few of the plastic dimples installed, a lot still to be done

Leaving odd collections of dimples when they knock off for the day.

They didn't get very far on this bit of the job

But eventually the job is finished.

Tactile paving on the resurfaced platform at Diggers Rest

Footnote: constantly inconsistent standards

There happens to be two different ‘standards’ for the installation of tactile markings at railway stations in Victoria.

Platforms on the ‘suburban’ network have three orange rows, three yellow rows, and six orange rows.

'Suburban' standard tactile markings on a platform - 3x orange, 3x yellow, and 6x orange

While ‘regional’ platforms used only by V/Line train have two rows of yellow dimples along the edge, followed by ten orange rows.

'Regional' standard tactile markings on a platform - 2x yellow and 10x orange

Beyond the two different ‘standards’, a number of railway stations have their own oddball installations of tactile markings – this thread on the Railpage Australia forums has more detail than you probably ever wanted to know.

And V/Line versus Metro

Diggers Rest is an even more peculiar example – in 2011 the station was upgraded as part of the Sunbury Electrification project, with V/Line-style tactile markings installed along the resurfaced platform.

N458 leads the up Swan Hill through Diggers Rest on the up

But a few months later, the little plastic bumps had been changed to the suburban style.

Sprinter 7021 arrives at Diggers Rest on the down

Someone having worked their way along the entire platform, prising up the three rows of orange dimples along the train side, and installing three new rows along the platform side.

Incorrectly located stopping mark at Diggers Rest, covered over with paint

I wonder how many hours that took to achieve!

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11 Responses to “Those little plastic bumps along railway platforms”

  1. Matt says:

    once at school we had white tactile’s and on one strip a button was coming off

  2. Andrew says:

    Aren’t all stations owned by Vic Track? So the government would be paying for the tactiles and then why would there not be one standard, metropolitan or V Line.

  3. Albert says:

    Interesting that Sydney has decided to leave the yellow painted line and then have blue rows of tactile tiles being the painted yellow line. I like the Victorian implementations better.

  4. Adrian says:

    On wet days these can be deadly.
    I’ve seen lots of people slip and fall on these – yet they seems to be growing everywhere.
    Even more exciting than the flat ones at the station, are the metal ones on drop kerbs around the CBD.
    It astounds me that something so slippery for many can be the answer to help the few. I guess the net benefits still stack up – old people quality life years with broken hips are relative less value than long term vehicular related injuries to otherwise health vision impaired people… That the way governments and health professionals assess these things right?

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