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Managing the risk of looseness and fretting damage

Issue number: RO-2010-011-SI-01
Who it affects: All owners and operators of rollingstock
Issue owner: Pacific National Pty Ltd
Operation affected: Rail: Rolling stock
Background: Investigation Report RO-2010-011
Date: 19 October 2011

Safety issue description

There was no documented evidence that Pacific National actively manages the risk of looseness and fretting damage to bearing components

Proactive Action

Action organisation: Pacific National Pty Ltd
Action number: RO-2010-011-NSA-013
Date: 19 October 2011
Action status: Closed

While there was no documented evidence of such, Pacific National advised that they actively manage the risk of looseness and fretting damage to bearing components, but since mid-2007 have not relied solely on fault indications identified by RailBAM.

Their approach is to consider RailBAM readings in conjunction with wheel impact detection and other bogie faults such as steering issues and only remove bearings if there is no other explanation for the readings. In addition, Pacific National advised that they are committed to developing a composite alarm application where trends may be better analysed individually and compared to bearing faults, wheel impacts and bogie faults such as steering issues.

ATSB response:

Considering the maintenance processes currently in place, it is recognised that bearing failure due to looseness and fretting is relatively rare. Since abandoning the process of routinely removing bearings that have shown looseness or fretting indications (RailBAM), Pacific National advised they had not observed any increase in the number of faulty bearings exhibiting looseness and fretting issues.

However, without documented records, this observation cannot be effectively monitored. Considering the potential consequence of a screwed journal derailment, a review and documentation of processes for managing bearing failure due to looseness or fretting may be warranted.

   
Current issue status: Adequately addressed
Status justification:

Safety action, but not required to issue a SAN (advice by GM). Written up as pro active safety action.

 
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Last update 29 January 2014