One of the key performance indicators for Infrabel, the Belgian rail infrastructure manager, is the continual availability of the national network.
As such, the condition and performance of the fixed power supply assets - which provide traction power to vehicles and electrical energy to the signalling system - plays an important role in the delivery of Infrabel's day-to-day responsibilities.
Infrabel's power supply engineering department asked Ricardo Rail (formerly Lloyd’s Register Rail) to conduct a technical assessment of their current installations in order to gain a thorough understanding of their working condition, as well expert opinion on the effectiveness of the organisation's approach to maintenance and renewal.
The assessment involved on-site inspections of a large sample of installations across the network, supported by interviews with team members and reviews of documentation and processes. A key element of the work was a benchmark study against the practices used by infrastructure managers in neighbouring countries.
Approach and results of the assessment
Over the course of five months, our experts applied a range of audit techniques to complete a full and in-depth investigation into the assets themselves, the department's structure and organisation, and existing maintenance processes.
The final results were transformed into a series of recommendations and accompanied by a suggested programme of works to improve overall performance over the medium to long term. This included a detailed report into all certification and regulatory compliance requirements, so as to minimise the number of design changes (and implications for train operators) and reduce the risk of large delays and future cost overruns.
Following the completion of the assessment report, our team were then tasked with helping Infrabel go on to implement the improvement programme we had produced for them.