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In the early 2000’s Dutch railway networks were facing serious challenges; increasing failure rates, punctuality falling, rising operational costs and decreased customer satisfaction due to railway performance. With assets failing and the cause often being unknown, asset owners needed insights to predict when these issues were going to happen in order to save time and money, and increase their resilience and improve business continuity.
These factors became the driver for moving away from the out-of-date "one-size-fits-all" descriptive maintenance intervention, and looking at maintaining the railway in a completely new way. That’s where Arcadis saw an opportunity to really change the way maintenance was being done in the rail market.
We have a tried and tested performance-based maintenance approach which was implemented in the Netherlands by Asset Rail, a joint venture between Arcadis and Dutch contractor, Dura Vermeer. Arcadis experts have set up methodologies to predict failures and proactively take the right measures together with the people executing the maintenance work. With a short feedback loop the methodologies are optimized continuously, resulting in ever growing performance improvement for 15 years since the introduction of performance-based maintenance. By understanding how organisations need assets to perform, we can help apply good maintenance principles to make that happen. This approach determines when, where and how often interventions need to be made based on understanding the risk of failure and puts plans in place to prevent these failures to maximise performance. For example, rail infrastructure assets on high frequency routes would have interventions carried out earlier and more frequently, with low frequency routes having greater maintenance intervals, optimizing resources, and ensuring a better customer experience.
This innovative approach has been a continuing success, with technical failures reduced by 64% and maintenance costs reduced by 40% nationally. On the portion of the network where our approach was implemented, we have a mean time to repair critical failures at less than one hour and predicted 40% of the failures a few days before the occurrence. This allowed timely preventive maintenance to be carried out and assets to be future-proofed. A performance-based approach optimises value in assets, ensures passenger safety and reduces costs for businesses. We are currently the largest maintenance contractor, managing over 2000km (30%) of the network length in the Netherlands using this approach and significantly improving performance in those areas.