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Railhub Archive
1997-02-20 RTK-009
Railtrack plc


Railtrack plans partnership to create a 'Better, Growing Railway Industry'

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Railtrack plc

Railtrack plans partnership to create a 'Better, Growing Railway Industry'

20 February 1997
source Railtrack plc
type Press release

Railtrack plans to promote the concept of partnership with customers and suppliers by building working relationships that will help to create a 'better, growing railway industry.'

Outlining plans for the next 10 years in its Network Management Statement, Railtrack says improvements in the way renewals of the network are identified, planned and carried out will be at the heart of the company's strategy.

The objective to work with key suppliers to further develop the quality of the network - such as signalling and control systems, bridges and track - would, in turn, deliver a better train operating performance than ever before.

Building a good relationship with customers and suppliers has already paid off. Train service reliability and punctuality has improved and over the first half of the current year train delays, for which Railtrack is directly responsible, fell by 30% compared with the same period in 1995/6.

The company will also pursue the development of operational and engineering technologies which improve the performance of the network and reduce costs of operating and maintaining it. The Rail Regulator's determination of access charges, with an annual two per cent real reduction over the period to 2001, provides a positive incentive.

Railtrack's policy is to maintain each infrastructure asset for as long as it gives reliable service and replace it in modern equivalent form when it no longer meets the needs.

Routine servicing of assets are arranged through output-based contracts with infrastructure maintenance companies (IMCs). Under the contracts, each IMC is responsible for performing all necessary day-to-day maintenance work to ensure that the track and associated assets meet the standards of operational performance specified in the controls. In addition, Railtrack has developed Asset Maintenance Plans to carry out periodic major repair and component renewal to ensure whole life effectiveness and reduce day-to-day maintenance costs.

Databases of all principal infrastructure assets are being developed, which will improve the planing of maintenance work. The information gathered, through inspection and recording, is being used to optimise maintenance specifications and standards and enable the change from traditional time-based regimes to more efficient condition-based regimes.

Railtrack specifies to suppliers quality standards for asset condition which ensure that criteria for safety and effective asset management are met. Comprehensive contractor monitoring arrangements has been introduced to achieve full compliance with these standards. Contracts with IMCs contain performance incentive regimes which are securing improving levels of network reliability and reducing delays to train services.

Currently there are 36 contracts with IMCs to undertake maintenance work, each relaying to the provision of services in a particular geographic area. These contracts contain provisions to reduce the price of the work each year, encouraging the contractors to achieve efficiencies in their activities. Further fundamental changes in working practices and equipment will be sought with the suppliers to achieve further efficiency savings in the price, for the same level of service.

Much of Railtrack's 32,000km of track is already in modern form of continuous welded rail on concrete, steel or hardwood sleepers, providing greater reliability, carrying capacity and safety. Areas where overall track performance will be improved through programmes to replace and strengthen ballast and formation substructures are being identified. In parallel, the first of a new generation of high output ballast replacement equipment will be introduced which will enable much increased programmes of work to be achieved with minimal disruption to train services.

For route structures, the policy will be to carry out planned preventative maintenance programmes and to arrange a timely replacement of component elements to extend the lifespan of the entire structure. Complete structure replacement will only be effected when life extension is no longer practicable.

Altogether 1,200 bridge spans will be renewed over the 10 years covering the statement with the workload higher in the early years in order to eliminate inherited arrears of work. The programme will include work on the Forth Bridge and other major heritage structures such as the Ouse Valley Viaduct in Sussex, King Edward Bridge, Newcastle-upon-Tyne and the Tay Bridge.

Signalling equipment is renewed when assets reach a point in their life cycle when continuing maintenance is no longer economically viable, or when renewal would prevent reliability becoming unacceptably degraded or safety is threatened. Renewals also takes place to meet changes in customer requirements and to concentrate many diverse control points into larger control centres. Signalling renewal programmes and associated works account for most expenditure on major projects

Railtrack plans to spend ?5 billion over the next 10 years renewing and modernising signalling infrastructure on a combination of major projects, such as the planned installation of Transmission Based Signalling on the West Coast Main Line, major renewal-led schemes in areas such as Manchester and Basingstoke and smaller, routine renewal schemes across the network.

Around ?0 million will be spent renewing electrification supply equipment, overhead line, third rail, transformers, rectifiers, circuit breakers and sub-stations, over the next 10 years, along with installing new points heaters, standby generators and other items of plant and machinery which will improve the reliability of the railway in all weathers.

Railhub Archive ::: 1997-02-20 RTK-009


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