Optimization of track geometry maintenance a study of track geometry degradation to specify optimal inspection intervals

Detta är en avhandling från Luleå : Luleå tekniska universitet

Sammanfattning: Railway infrastructure is a complex system which comprises different subsystems. Long useful life span is one of the important aspects of this prime mode of transport. The useful life length of its assets is highly dependent on the maintenance and renewal strategy used during its life cycle. Today’s demands on the railway industry call for increased capacity, including more trains, travelling at higher speeds with higher axle loads. This increased usage will result in higher degradation of railway asset and higher maintenance costs. However, due to the competitive environment and limited budgets, railway infrastructure managers are compelled to optimize operation and maintenance procedures to decrease operation and maintenance costs while meeting high safety standards. To assure track safety and maintain high quality, a cost effective track maintenance strategy is required, one based not only on technical and/or safety limits but also on cost-effective maintenance thresholds. RAMS (Reliability, Availability, Maintainability and Safety) and LCC (Life Cycle Cost) analyses, which are derived from reliable track condition data, provide an approach to specify cost effective maintenance strategy to lessen corrective maintenance actions and downtimes.One of the main parameters to assure railway safety and comfortable railway service is to maintain high quality of track geometry. Poor track geometry quality, directly or indirectly, may result in safety problems, speed reduction, traffic disruption, greater maintenance cost and higher degradation rate of the other railway components (e.g. rails, wheels, switch, crossings etc.). The aim of this study is to develop a methodology to optimize track geometry maintenance by using historical geometry data. The methodology is based on reliability and cost analysis and supports the maintenance decision-making process to identify cost-effective inspection interval. An important phase of track geometry maintenance optimization is to estimate the track degradation rate. Obtaining knowledge about degradation helps to properly schedule maintenance activities such as inspection and tamping.The thesis provides a methodology to identify a cost-effective inspection interval based on track degradation rate and cost drivers. It contains state-of-the-art track geometry maintenance optimization. It describes Trafikverket’s (Swedish Transport Administration) maintenance strategy regarding measurements, reporting on and improving track quality, and it evaluates the efficiency of this strategy. Finally, it includes a case study carried out on the iron ore line in north of Sweden that runs from Boden to Gällivare to evaluate track geometry degradation and analyze the probability distributions of failures. A cost model is developed in order to find optimal inspection interval.Keywords: Track geometry degradation, Track maintenance optimization, Maintenance planning, Tamping