Risk based asset management in the rail sector

Network Rail’s Asset Management Policy was last updated in January 2018 to reflect the commitment to improve their approach to asset management and to align their asset management activities to ISO 55001 – Asset Management – Management Systems.

This will help deliver their commitment to improve safety for all those who interact with the rail network, as well as provide efficiencies and value for money. The works will include the delivery of enhancement, maintenance and renewal works in a whole life costs effective way.

To deliver improved performance in asset management, Network Rail will focus on five key areas:

  • Business alignment – including Region/Route Asset Management Systems delivering including local linking of objectives.
  • People – Enabling the required competency and leadership.
  • Intelligence – Use technology to improve access to asset data and to instigate intervention at an early stage to prevent failure and costly repair.
  • Data – standardising and improving the quality of data and data capture.
  • Management Review – Ensure asset management processes identify risk and potential opportunities.
Structure crossing a canal
Structure crossing a canal subject to significant flood flows resulting in its partial collapse

In focussing on these areas, Network Rail propose to be able to demonstrate that they accord with best practice processes, reduce service effecting failures by 10% across Control Period 6 (this is the five-year financial and planning period from 2019 to 2024) and support efficient delivery of remedial works so that whole life cycle costs of managing the network can be reduced.

For nearly a quarter of a century, JBA has worked with Network Rail in developing systems to enable them to capture data in a standardised and consistent format, allowing them to clearly establish asset condition and risk as well as developing a programme of cost effective risk-based remedial and refurbishment works.

Examples of this include AssetCoast where we developed a much wider view of condition reporting and risk management by including with the asset condition, the impact of natural coastal processes including erosion, wave over-topping and still water level flooding. This innovative development allows Network Rail to develop a true risk-based approach to the management and maintenance of their coastal assets.

Partial scour failure of rail structure
Partial scour failure of rail structure resulting from the accumulation of debris at the upstream face

We have also undertaken over 8,000 scour risk assessments over nearly 25 years and assisted the team at Network Rail in the development of the new business process for the management of scour risk. The process is a risk-based approach to the management of scour and determines different management options for various levels of risk. This permits the investment in remedial and protection works to be clearly focussed where it is needed and implemented at the appropriate time to prevent asset failure.

We have provided significant training for Network Rail’s staff in the areas of earthworks condition survey data capture, AssetCoast and scour risk assessment. We believe that by increasing the knowledge within the client organisation we are supporting their objective to ensure effective and efficient asset management.

Want to know more?

If you would like to know more about our risk based asset management work in the rail sector,  email Richard Buck. You can also visit our webpages. 

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