Congestion of Metro Trains in Melbourne
1. Planning and Design
This section will discuss the effective maintenance practices that can be adopted by the metro trains in Melbourne to be able to deal with the problem of the congestion that is currently faced.
1.1 Statement of Problem
The common problems that are facing the railways maintenance in Melbourne will be examined and separated to be able to understand the underlying factors that contribute to the problem that is being faced in the market.
1.1.1 Problem definition: Effective and efficient maintenance practices for the railways will ensure that the reliability and the safety of the users of the metro trains are not compromised. The above is due to the fact that such maintenance practices will lead to the ease of the control, supervision as well as the protection of the railways that are using the tracks. The failure or the problems with the railway signaling systems are always attributed to a number of causes. The six main causes that were identified by Pintelon (1999) include the faulty installations, the power failure, defective components, the infrastructure for instance the signal boxes, surrounding systems and the interference by the trains that are using the tracks. The above problems that are faced therefore calls for the effective maintenance practices to be used for the reduction of the negative effects that will be associated with the system breakdowns that are associated with the poor systems (Canon, 2003; Zhao, 2006).
1.1.2 Problem analysis: There are a number of reasons that can lead to the signaling problems that are faced by the railways. They include the faulty installations, the use of components that are defective, the surrounding systems, the train interference with the systems that are in place, the infrastructure and the power failure amongst the many other elements. Pintelon (1999) argued that although the railways always have a very long lifespan, thus leading to very low carbon emissions due to the high efficiency in energy usage.
The operational efficiency of the metro trains will be affected significantly if the systems breakdown due to the poor maintenance as the low carbon emissions and the high energy efficiency will have negligible effects on the firm (Patra, 2009; Davidson, 2003). When the railways are not effectively maintained, the safety of the railway system will be significantly compromised (Murata, 1989). The lack of the maintenance of the railways leads to the increase in the number of the accidents that are faced in a country (Chen, 2008). Apart from the issues of the safety and the security of the users of the railways, the lack of the maintenance of the railways will also lead to the rise of the train delays due to the congestion on the tracks.
1.2 Evaluation of the possible solutions
There are a number of possible solutions that have been identified by the different scholars to be used in the effective maintenance of the railways. The above solutions are based on the research by different scholars to be able to find the best and effective railways maintenance practices that can be used in the different metropolitan railways systems (Kijima, 2007; Kumar, 1992). The possible solutions are stated below:
a) Condition Based Maintenance (CBM)
b) Mean Time Between Failures (MTBF)
c) Preventive Maintenance
d) Vatz model
e) Reliability based technique
Table 1: Advantages (and or disadvantages of the various solutions identified.
Solutions Advantages Disadvantages
a. Condition Based Maintenance Allows for the early detection of the degradation in the signal system as well as the avoidance of the failures that may be experienced (Nystrom, 2009);
The improvement of the reliability and the availability of the metro railways services;
Minimization of the replacement and maintenance costs;
Reductions in the penalty cost (Roberts, 2002).
Reduction of the safety risks that are involved; Requires support on an on-going basis;
The initial costs of the initial implementation are high.
b. Mean Time Between Failures Based on the Weibull distribution to be able to minimize the costs of the maintenance (Patra & Kumar, 2009).
To maximize the overall availability of the systems; The support that will be required to be able to undertake the operations that are going on will be the main disadvantage. It can lead to the costs overruns due to the need to be able to serve all the needs of the maintenance of the railways systems.
c. Preventive Maintenance (PM) Better PM help in increasing the life of the equipment;
Reduction of the costs that are associated with the corrective maintenance
Increase in the productivity due to the increase in the availability and the decrease in the downtime (Dersin, 2009). The high costs associated with the initial installations.
d. Vatn model Reduction of the delays in the train schedules due to the prioritization of the maintenance activities (Vatn, 2003). Costs associated with the implementation
e. Reliability Based Technique Minimization of the maintenance costs based on the use of the optimal intervals (Niska, 2008) Administrative issues such as lack of support by the staff.
1.3 Recommended solutions
The costs that are incurred are an element of the disadvantage that is faced by all the maintenance solutions that have been fronted above. The solutions that will be implemented include the Condition Based Maintenance (CBM) and the Preventive Maintenance (PM). The solution b (Mean Time Between Failures (MTBF) would be excellent to be applied in the metro systems in Melbourne but the elements of the costs that are very high in the process of the implementation as well as the risks associated with the cost overruns will be considered as an element of great concern (Ascher, 1994). The above make the implementation of the solution b unattainable under the current climates of the operations in Melbourne.
Solutions d and e (Vatn Model and Reliability Based Technique respectively) would be nice to implement but the advantages are weighed down by the disadvantages that the methods would attract. The CBM will be implement in Melbourne due to the fact that even though the initial costs are very high, the early detection of the degradation in the signal system as well as the avoidance of the failures, minimization of the replacement and maintenance costs and the reduction of the safety risks that are involved are all the disadvantages that will make the maintenance practice an important solution for the problems that are faced in Melbourne.
Secondly, the advantages that are associated with the Preventive Maintenance far much outweigh the disadvantages that are faced thus making the practice an important element that needs to be implemented in Melbourne metro.