Adelaide Railway Station

Automatic gates

Adelaide railway station is the converging point of all Adelaide suburban railway lines. Controlling entry and exit here is a simple and efficient way of fighting fraud.
In fact, most stations on the network do not have required infrastructure to envisage implementing a closed system and controlling the “knot” is definitely a must.

New barrier gates are now installed and in service. It is made of 24 reversible aisles with tripods and two wide aisles with flaps to cater for special cases. While the choice of tripods may seem conservative, their cost, simplicity to operate and reliability have won the deal. To process a crowd, one should always keep in mind that it is always preferable to have more aisles with average throughput than a small number of high speed aisles which are often affected by a funnel effect when you get a bit more passenger than expected. To the contrary, a large number of gates allows a natural spreading of the crowd and an overall better passenger flow.

Crowd exiting

Like all other pieces of equipment composing new MetroCARD system, gates are fitted with a tri-technolgy reader which processes legacy LoCo magnetic tickets, new HiCo magnetic tickets and contact less smart cards (Mifare DESFire).Six thousand cards are currently into service with pilot passengers, high coercitivity magnetic tickets are gradually replacing legacy cash fare ticket and legacy Multitrip tickets are still valid: the three technologies are processed in full transparency without any sort of inconvenience for passengers.This was one of the big challenges of project: achieving full compatibility between a modern very up-to-date system and a quarter of a century old legacy system: this is working beyond expectations and is a total success.

Compared to the legacy system, the number of gates has been increased by about 50% to provide more throughput capacity and thus more comfort for passengers. The main problem at Adelaide Railway Station is to clear large amounts of passengers very quickly following arrivals of trains thus avoiding congestion of the paid concourse which is not very large.

During installing, which was done gradually, all aisles were made reversible to accommodate morning and evening peaks automatically: it is the person validating first who determine direction in which the aisle operates. Luckily Adelaide passenger flow is mainly one way at anytime and we did not experience too much problems. However, the system provides possibility to program gate configuration depending upon time of the day. It is envisaged to put a few gates in one direction only so that people going in the opposite direction of the main passenger stream are not penalised being confronted with “rowing against the tide”.

New ticket office

Ticket office has been totally rebuilt and capacity has been doubled. Trains being converted to electric power together with a reorganisation of services, an increase of passenger numbers is planned. Because of existing building constraints, ticket office had to be constructed along the depth of the station and inside the paid concourse. This has induced necessity to install a small barrier with three aisles to provide an easy exit to passengers exiting the ticket office. The final arrangement has taken into account emergency and ambulance access for which final gates are being built.

This new part of the system has entered into service without noticeable difficulties. After just a few days passengers were already used to it. Introduction of metrocard will improve gate throughput by about 50% compared to magnetic tickets.


ADELAIDE railway station is the convergence point of all suburban railway lines. Controlling automatically entries and exits provides an efficient mean of fighting fraud. This picture album shows the very early days of the new automatic barrier gates after their introduction into service.

About Dominique BIEVRE

I am a consultant specialised in ticketing systems. I have a good 25 years of experience in this field, a detailed story of my career can be found on my website: This blog is to propose a mean to talk about ticketing your comments or suggestions are most welcome.
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One Response to Adelaide Railway Station

  1. Congratulations Dominique. Metrocard is a credit to your perfectionism. You should be so proud now that it has been established in such a smooth, efficient manner. Nadine

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