Mode Rail
Reference No. RR201700013
Date reported 26 July 2017
Concern title Lack of preventative maintenance practices leading to defective wagons being in operation
Concern summary

The concern related to the operator not performing preventative maintenance which means that defects are being postponed and hence defective wagons are being used in operations.

Industry / Operation affected Rail: Freight
Concern subject type Rail: Rolling stock maintenance

Reporter's concern

The reporter expressed a safety concern related to the maintenance of crew relay vans and wagons at [operator].

The reporter advised that both the [type] class and [type] class coaches are five months overdue for preventative maintenance inspections and are green carded as defective but are still in operation.

The reporter also advised that a number of wagons are also five months overdue for preventative maintenance related to lifting and bogie/wheel set changes.


Operator's response (Operator 1)

I have consulted with the [operator] Maintenance Manager – Rail and the [operator 2] Maintenance Planner who plans wagon and crew car maintenance. 

They advised me in the past 12 months all [type] and [type] crew cars have been lifted, inspected and undergone repairs (where necessary) as part of the bogie overhaul/wheel set change process.

I’m advised that the rolling stock maintenance system is utilised for the ‘green carding’ of rolling stock, currently a ‘green card’ has been entered in the system for a [type] crew car to alert [operator] and [operator 2] of the due date for a B Service.   

This allows [operator] and [operator 2] to plan to operationally get the [type] crew car in for the required maintenance on, or about, the due date.

In addition:

  1. [Operator] and [operator 2] meet monthly to discuss all general maintenance issues.    The standing agenda items discussed include preventative maintenance, overdue services, and red and green carded rollingstock, etc.
  2. [Operator] has a process where our train crews can immediately log a maintenance service request with the rolling stock maintainer, which is actioned and reviewed during the monthly meetings.
  3. Train crews can raise issues directly with their supervisor/manager.

[Operator] believe the above-mentioned maintenance and reporting processes demonstrate:

  1. That [operator] and [operator 2] have a robust monitoring and review process in relation to maintenance of rolling stock.
  2. There is ample reasonable and practicable opportunity for train crews to report their concerns to [operator] and/or the maintainer and have these actioned and closed out.

[Operator] is disappointed that the reporter has not raised their concerns directly using our internal processes and as such has not allowed us to formally address the reporter’s concerns with the reporter.


Regulator's response (Regulator 1)

The ONRSR has given consideration to the safety concerns raised and also the response provided by the accredited operator: [operator]

The ONRSR has requested and received further evidence from the operator in relation to the matter.

Based on the available information, the ONRSR is satisfied that the maintenance on the crew relay vans has been undertaken appropriately and that staff concerns regarding maintenance of the crew relay vans are being forwarded on to the maintenance provider by management when received.

ATSB comment

In response to the report above, the following comments from the reporter were forwarded to the operator:

The reporter advises that whether there is a robust policy in place for the repairs to be carried out or not, there are no spare crew coaches available.  If the train examiners apply a ‘red card’ (not fit for travel), the pressure applied for them to ‘green card’ the wagon as fit for travel to be repaired, will go on for months until it’s available for repair.

The reporter notes that crew van log books are filled out, yet it just ‘[operator 2] to monitor’ or ‘checked okay’ by the maintenance provider with overdue wheel sets and overdue bogie lifts or changes.

The reporter agrees that rail employees can and do continue to report issues with supervisors/management, however due to the shortage of spare bogies and asset utilisation, the reporter advises that nothing happens as a result of the reported issues.  The reporter advises that this continues to occur due to budgetary constraints and reliance on third parties’ or contractors’ decisions, and not those reporting the faults.

The reporter advises that they are disappointed with being labelled as not following the operator’s internal process for raising concerns when he/she believes that reports that are raised are ignored, or budgetary restraints prevent repairs being carried out in a timely manner which puts other network operators and employees at risk.

The operator advised that they stood by their first response.

ONRSR response

In relation to the examples provided in their response, any further specific details and/or evidence the reporter may have would assist ONRSR in determining if any further follow up action can be undertaken. If the reporter wishes to do so, they can contact ONRSR using the contact details provided to the ATSB.

Last update 12 July 2018