Degradation-based preventive maintenance policy for railway transport systems

Fateme Dinmohammadi, B. Alkali, M. Shafiee

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

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    Railway transport maintenance plays an important role in delivering safe, reliable and competitive transport services. It also is one of the major costs for rail transport operations. According to several reports, the inspection and maintenance costs constitute a large portion of the life-cycle cost (LCC) for railway asset infrastructures (such as bridges, rail tracks, track beds and track equipment) and rolling stock components (e.g. chassis, bogies, wheels and wagons). In order to reduce the operating expenditure (OPEX) while maintaining high standards of safety, the asset managers must determine a planning period and find optimum preventive inspection policies for various railway systems, such that the total cost incurred over the life span is minimized and/or the rail network’s reliability is maximized. Common railway defects are caused by degradation processes such as rolling contact fatigue (RCF) or wear. The degradation of assets may result in substantial losses to the rail transport operators if it is not prevented in an efficient way. In this paper, we investigate an optimal age-dependent preventive inspection policy for railway assets subject to gradual degradation phenomena. The degradation processes initiate following
    Non-Homogenous Poisson Process (NHPP) and propagate according to gamma stochastic process. When the size of degradation reaches a critical level, the asset will unexpectedly fail and it has to undergo a corrective repair. This unexpected failure may also interrupt rail operations, cause passenger dissatisfaction or even some accidents like derailment or overturning. To avoid such undesired defects, the asset is preventively inspected at regular time intervals. The problem is to determine an optimal inspection time interval such that the long-run expected cost rate is minimized. The proposed model is applied to support maintenance decision-making for a railway asset on the Scottish rail network. The results show that the use of the proposed inspection policy allows a significant reduction of the maintenance cost compared to the strategy when only corrective repair is considered.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publication30th International Congress & Exhibition on Condition COMADEM 2017
    Number of pages8
    Publication statusPublished - 31 Jul 2017


    • degradation
    • railway transport
    • maintenance


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