Case Study TasRail - Analysis of Broken Rail Progress Update

Situation / Driver:

  • The process for analysis and testing of broken rails is undertaken by an external supplier (Monash University)
  • Knowledge to outline the rules around what is analysed and what is not is not formally captured
  • Individual analysis of broken rails is done but no trend analysis is undertaken
  • The proportion of broken rails identified via incidents versus inspections is not captured
  • Communication to the Regulator regarding changes to the standards needs to occur

Impact this was having:

  • We have a lot of broken rails and this means a derailment risk
  • Trend analysis is not understood therefore correct action may be adhoc
  • Current inspection processes cannot identify areas of elevated risk – done in a vehicle (too fast) by Track Inspectors

The Approach undertaken:

  • Under the guidance of an External Facilitator, Vernon Hawes used the Plan-Do-Check-Act methodology to:
    - Understand the current situation, the issues and causes of the issues
    - Frame up possible solutions
    - Implement the solutions
    - Understand the difference these solutions made
    - Standardise for the future

Solutions implemented:

  • A number of improvements i.e. to the Maintenance Standard (INF-TS-211) have been undertaken and communicated to the Regulator
  • There has been training for Welders in the new standards
  • We investigated where we could undertake critical fault identification manually and some trials have been undertaken; however this is very labour intensive and costly so we are looking to automate this through Sense T. This work has confirmed the necessary approach with Sense T
  • Hand testing has been undertaken and this has identified a couple of defects but they were non critical and the numbers were very low – no cost benefit
  • We’ve made a commitment to remove rail defects picked up ultrasonically
  • Communication to all relevant stakeholders regarding the changes has occurred
  • A summary of the changes have been captured in a summary document

Benefits Achieved:

  • Removed 535 ultrasonic defects found in the 2015 campaign
  • This resulted in a much lower detection number in 2016 of 413
  • 41 of these have been removed and additional resourcing is not currently identified to complete the job

Future Plans:

  • Sense T work is about to be undertaken. This proposal is to identify conditions that are of high risk of breaking and automate this process
  • Resourcing needs to be allocated ($ and people) to the removal of the 2016 detected defects
  • We need to focus on measuring track quality and continue to monitor, plan for and resource repair