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Victorian Regional Railway Rolling Stock Fleet Management
Transcript of Victorian Regional Railway Rolling Stock Fleet Management
Who are the key players in the rolling stock industry?
What makes up V/Line’s regional rolling stock system?
How is performance measured, and maximised?
And Why is it difficult to manage all of the conflicting requirements?
Let’s dive in and take a look.
Who is responsible for rolling stock management in Victoria?
The answer is unfortunately not exactly clear-cut or straightforward.
The Key Players start with the man at the top, Minister Terry Mulder.
As the minister for Public Transport, he oversees the Department of Transport, and by extension all of the transport corporations and agencies in Victoria.
The two pieces of legislation which lay out the responsibilities and relationships between the different government agencies are the Transport Integration Act, 2010, and the Rail Safety Act, 2006.
I’ve done the work of trying to summarise 500 or so pages of legislation into a few pretty pictures with arrows, but if you want all the details and enjoy a bit of light bedtime reading, you are more than welcome to have a shot yourself.
The TIA defines three Transport System Agencies, VicRoads, The Taxi Services Commission, and my boss, Public Transport Victoria.
These authorities are responsible for overseeing different modes of transport across Victoria, and report both to The Department and directly to the minister himself.
Two Transport Safety Agencies, Transport Safety Victoria, and The Office of the Chief Investigator, who respectively oversee the rules and standards governing safe public transport, and investigate any incidents using a no-blame approach.
A number of Transport Corporations are also defined. Two of these, V/Line and VicTrack, are directly relevant to rail.
VicTrack is the assets owner for most of the public transport assets, including land, infrastructure, and rolling stock assets.
Franchisees are the corporations that receive payment for operating the different modes of transport.
Metro and Yarra operate Melbourne’s Trains and Trams respectively, Transdev is taking over the bus network operations, but it is V/Line who operates and maintains the regional rolling stock services.
This is still an oversimplification.
V/Line is both a franchisee and a state owned transport corporation.
Not all relationships are shown, and private companies, suppliers, and contractors are not included.
So while not an easy question, you can appreciate the complexity of Who is responsible for regional rolling stock management in Victoria.
From here on, I’m going to focus mainly on V/Line.
Let’s have a look at the different parts that make up the picture of V/Line’s regional rolling stock management system.
The V/Line fleet has a number of different vehicle types, with different provisions for speed, capacity, and comfort.
VLocities are the newest and fastest rolling stock used in Victoria, with a top speed of 160km/h.
These Diesel Multiple Units operate mainly on the new Regional Fast Rail lines, and can operate in two or three cars consists, or with multiple sets together as a longer train.
There are currently 134 Vlocity cars in use, with 50 more on order from Bombardier in Dandenong.
Sprinters are diesel trains with a top speed of 120km/h.
They can operate as either a single car consist, for distant trips with low patronage, or joined into longer trains as shown here.
Unpowered carriages carry the bulk of passengers each day, and are starting to show their age, with The N type cars being built in the 1980’s, and the H and Z class cars going back to the 1950’s.
The Z class carriages were refurbished in 1995, and are pushing 57 years old, so it’s perhaps not surprising that they are starting to show their age.
Locomotives are used to haul the unpowered carriages around the network, usually in 3-6 car sets.
N class locos are the most common, although you may also see P or A class locos in service occasionally.
Y class locos are mainly used for shunting, and you will usually see a few in depots such as West Melbourne.
Not included here are track maintenance vehicles, such as hi-rails.
The term Classic Fleet is sometimes used to refer to all of the older rolling stock, excluding the separate Vlocity fleet.
As we will see later, these two fleets are maintained and managed separately.
Let’s move on to other important components of the management and maintenance system.
There are 4 depot used to work on the vehicle fleet.
West Melbourne does scheduled exams for the Vlocity and Classic fleets, as well as a small amount of unscheduled reactive repair work.
Ballarat East is a smaller two road Vlocity workshop, and Geelong and South Dynon operate loco depots and refuelling points.
Trains on the regional networks are controlled out of CENTROL, the CENtral train conTROL centre.
When the four controllers aren’t enjoying the view out over Southern Cross station, they each oversee one quarter of the network remotely, ensuring continual safe and smooth operation even when issues arise during day to day operation.
Even in today’s technical world, you can see that paper based train graphs are still vital, as they can be relied on in the event of power failure or loss of telemetry.
All of this serves one purpose: to move people around Victoria.
13 Lines and 102 stations are visited by about 1500 services each week, resulting in 13 million passenger movements per year.
Since 2005 the number of journeys has more than doubled, and it has been a challenge to keep up with the increasing demand.
Punctuality is the measure of how many stops are made within five minutes of the timetabled departure time.
Reliability measures the portion of services which were not completely cancelled.
Satisfaction reflects the opinion of a random sampling of patrons when asked how satisfied they are with the service on a scale of 1 to 5.
To those are some of the key parts of the current regional system. Now that the overview is out of the way, we are going to get into some of the more interesting details to do with how and why the fleet is managed and maintained the way it is.
So, HOW are things managed to encourage high levels of service and provide maximum value to the customer.
Bombardier has entered into two separate contracts with V/Line to provide exclusive service to the Classic fleet and the Velocity fleet.
The V/Line services agreement is the contract between V/Line and PTV that lays out how responsibilities will be shared between V/Line as the operator and Bombardier as the maintainer.
This informs the preparation of an annual Rolling Stock Management plan which informs PTV of how V/Line intends to meet their contractual obligations to the state over the coming year.
A number of Key Performance Indicators are tracked by PTV and V/Line to determine the performance bonuses or penalties that V/Line is entitled to each period.
• The MDBF for each vehicle type
• Whether they have enough vehicles at hand to run all required services
• How many maintenance activities are actually carried out, as opposed to planned.
• How many unplanned faults arose that cause delays to in service vehicles of greater than 5 minutes.
Passenger-weighted-minutes are used as the measure of the severity of missing or delaying a service.
This weighting penalises incidents that occur on busy services in peak times more severely than those that affect quiet services.
The monthly target for PWM’s is 134,000m which is still a lot of lost time for passengers.
A balanced exam structure is used by Bombardier to ensure regular inspections are carried out on vehicles, minimising the time spent in the depots on each visit, and maximising the amount of work that can be done in off peak periods.
A couple of example schedules are shown here. The order of the exams alternates, B – C – B – D – etc.
Different subsystems are inspected to different levels of detail on each exam, to meet the manufacturers and OEM requirements.
Larger less frequent exams focus on more extensive work, including bogie overhauls, lifting off carriages, and undertaking complete refurbishments.
So that is how ideally the planning and maintenance is carried out.
Let’s finish by addressing Why it is still difficult to please all of the people all of the time.
When it comes to maximising the performance indicators and delivering the highest value service to customers there is a complicated trade off of priorities that goes into fleet management.
Fixing safety issues as they arise takes precedence over the operations team delivering the maximum number of services, which takes precedence over carrying out planned preventative maintenance, which leaves planned project work at the bottom of the food chain.
Reactive maintenance usually takes the highest priority when determining who has control over a certain item of rolling stock.
Fault categories prioritise the importance of severity of the issues affecting a vehicle.
Examples of the categories of faults used on the metropolitan system are Maintenance, Critical, and Severe faults.
• Maintenance faults are the lowest priority, and are often allowed to be repaired at the end of the week, or when the train is next scheduled to visit a workshop.
• Severe faults, such as those affecting important but non safety-critical systems need to be fixed immediately after the train finishes that run.
• Critical faults require the service to be immediately terminated, with all passengers disembarking, and the train being prohibited from re-entering service until repaired.
Each year there are over 15 thousand faults that result in delays greater than five minutes.
V/Lines target is to get this number below 12,300.
As long as nothing is wrong with the vehicle, operations usually maintain control.
They often have to juggle competing requests on the fly, for example, if a train on a busy service develops a fault, occasionally a less important run will be sacrificed in order to minimise the total impact to passengers.
They aim to always have enough trains available to meet the timetabled requirements.
But still, on average, there are 9 load breaches each day, which are events where trains are overcrowded to an uncomfortable extent.
A number of trains are set aside to be undergoing preventative maintenance work at any point in time.
The aim of preventative maintenance is to reduce the number of in service faults that occur and disrupt operations, or equivalently to increase the Mean Distance between failures for the vehicles.
This makes the work that needs to be done more predictable, and reduces the variance in risk of faults that affect operations.
If too many trains are removed from service at the same time, then operations will suffer.
If not enough trains are shopped then the depots will have an excess of trade staff that will be underutilised, wasting resources.
The fleet planner can try to prioritise which vehicles are shopped in what order, to minimise the safety buffer, or window, that surrounds each scheduled exam.
If the window runs out, the train will not be permitted to re-enter service until its exam is undertaken, which adds a further constraint to planning.
Also, each depot only has a limited number of roads available, and staff rostered on, so the time which is convenient for operations might not be the most convenient time for maintenance.
Finally, projects often end up at the bottom of the ladder.
Although there is usually an allowance for one train to be out of service for project work at any point in time, it can still be difficult to schedule project work and staff resources.
When a train is booked in to have project work done to it, such as changing the coolant, repainting, or upgrading the wiring, there only a moderate chance that that train will arrive in the workshop where you requested it on time.
So, you can hopefully see some of the key challenges and trade-offs that are faced on a daily basis, and need to be constantly considered when dealing with planning and managing the rolling stock fleet.
And hopefully you now have a better picture of the Who’s, What’s, How’s and Why’s of Victorian Regional Rolling Stock Management.
The Key Players
Minister for Roads
Minister for Public Transport
Transport System Agencies
Exam N Cars H Cars
B Exam 21,000km 7,500km
C Exam 42,000km 15,000km
D Exam 83,000km 30,000km
E Exam 250,000km
F Exam 500,000km
G Exam 1,000,000km
Windows, fittings, seats
Doors, lubrication, electrical
Couplers, brakes, crack inspections
Major Exam: Wheels & Bogies
Maintenance Fault: Low priority - 7 days to fix
Severe Fault: Finish this run, then service
Critical Fault: Terminate run immediately
Minor exams: 5000km window
Major Exams: 20,000km window
Actual exams vs planned completed in 2012: 932/1042
Regional Rolling Stock Management
N Class - 25 locos
P Class - 7 locos
CENTROL - central train control
Key Performance Indicators:
Mean Distance Between Failures
Fleet Availability vs Requirements
Planned vs Actual Maintenance
West Melbourne Depot (Marcus Wong 2009)
Photo by Chris Gordon 2008
V/Line Services Agreement
Rolling Stock Management Plan
~99.5% April availability
electric park brakes
installing bogie data loggers
(~400 lead to >5 min delays):
Target = 12,300
Reference: 2013 V/Line Rolling Stock Management Report
A Class - 4 locos
~9 load breaches per day
Y Class - 4 locos
Target Mean Distance Between Failures
Sliding scale bonus
Passenger weighted minutes:
134,000 PWMs per month
Transport Safety Agencies