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Transport & Logistics

The international landscape of rail maintenance: the latest news and projects

15 Nov 2013, by Informa Insights

As asset management programs and buzz words are beginning to make their rounds, rail operators, state governments and rail associations are encouraging best practices in international rail maintenance standards. We have taken a look at some of the latest developments in the international rail front, to show that the issues we have in Australia, are shared more widely across the globe.

270x180_1383211828_rail-engineeringIn an announcement from the NSW State Government, the extension of the Sydney light rail network will deliver  10, 000 new jobs and $4 billion in economic benefits. The $1.6 billion project is said to play a central role in the expansion of public transport in Sydney, but a recent derailment has also raised questions as to whether or not the line is being properly maintained in order to retain its value capture. We’ve taken a look at some international maintenance projects to see what international standards and best practices involve. 

Los Angeles

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) maintenance and expansion contract has recently been awarded to an international engineering consultancy, Atkins.

Atkins will be providing services including computer aided design and drafting, train control design and communication design among many other maintenance requirements. Metro is the third largest transport authority in the US, and the maintenance and expansion contract is needed to cater to the 50 million passengers it carries per year, in order to maintain Metro’s reputation as being the most modern, and cost-effective transportation system in the U.S. So far there are no dates for completion but you can stay updated on the Atkins website.

Thai Skytrain


A new passenger line that is currently being constructed in Thailand will include the maintenance of electrical and electronic systems by Marubeni Corporation and Toshiba Corporation. This contract involves 10 years of maintenance service including the supply of equipment for the line and rolling stock.

The two companies will also be establishing a maintenance company in Bangkok in order to provide maintenance to the 63 vehicles that will be operating on the new line.

This new line in Bangkok has been called The Purple Line, and it will include a 23km mass rapid heavy rail system. Construction will be completed by 2014.


cowra_rail_big_300On the British front, Network Rail has been told to cut its operating costs by 20% by implementing preventative maintenance programmes. The UK’s rail network has recently suffered from bouts of bad weather, and in order to reduce maintenance costs, the Office of Rail Regulation has said that Network Rail could save £1.7 billion by predicting and preventing rather than a “find and fix” approach.

This approach, if accepted by Network Rail, will provide a safer, better performing and more efficient rail network. Benefits to consumers will also include fewer service cancellations and more level crossings will be upgraded or closed. Network Rail has until February 2014 to decide on whether or not it will agree to the preventative maintenance proposal.

Rural Australia

Rural AustraliaIn a recent statement from the CEO of the Australasian Railway Association, Bryan Nye has called on Federal and State Governments to look at the bigger picture in regard to the preparation and operation of rural rail lines. Nye also states that the lack of progression on the maintenance front in rural areas, has led to the unnecessary closing of rail lines.

According to Nye, the average freight train takes 110 trucks off the road and reduces truck movements by 49.7 million truck kilometres per year.


The inaugural Asset Management & Maintenance conference will be held on the 3-4 of December. We would love for you to join and contribute to the discussion on the best practices and standards of asset management systems in the manufacturing, utility and transport industries. For more information on the agenda and to register, please visit the homepage.

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