The reported expressed a safety concern regarding two specific maintenance practices being conducted on railway wagons/locomotives/relay vans by [maintenance provider] under the instruction/influence of [operator], relating to wheel sets.
The reporter advised that wheel sets are having their flat spots grinded off the face of the wheel to prevent noisy wheel sets from setting off impact detectors installed on the main lines at various locations on the interstate network, in an attempt to avoid having wheel sets replaced or turned on a lathe.
The reporter also advised the wheel sets are having their flanges ground back and arises removed to prevent derailments and extend service life.
Both practices above are outlawed, however are currently being carried out by [maintenance provider] in all states, in particular Western Australia, Victoria and South Australia.
Operator's response (Operator 1)
No response received from operator.
Regulator's response (Regulator 1)
The ONRSR has given consideration to the safety concerns raised regarding wheel set maintenance practices under the instruction/influence of the accredited operator: [operator].
The ONRSR can confirm that an ONRSR audit of [operator] is scheduled to be undertaken on 29-30 November 2017. The scope of the audit will enable further evaluation of applicable engineering standards, procedures and practices including maintenance of wheel sets.
It is the intention of ONRSR to review the outcomes of the audit and then determine if further compliance activities are required in relation to the safety concerns raised in REPCON RR20170014.