Rail System Operations & Maintenance

Maintenance, Renewals & Project Controls Track Infrastructure (Metro Trains Melbourne)

Metro Trains Melbourne (MTM), Infrastructure division, was responsible for the operational maintenance of all the network’s metropolitan assets, including the rail and electrical infrastructure.

This division lead the maintenance and renewals of these assets, worth in excess of $1b, as part of the agreed partnership with the State government of Victoria, Department of Transport.

The MTM network covers and extent of 990km of track infrastructure. Being an operational infrastructure asset that is being renewed and life extended, the works needed to be planned in accordance with the highest safety assurance, Works and Operational readiness and within a limited operational window.

T&S Team members led MTM to achieve best for project and network outcomes while ensuring MTM’s accreditation and technical standards were met with no safety incidents.

Our Role in the Project

Our nominated T&S team members held a variety of senior roles (see listed below) within the project.

  • The MTM Project Controls Manager — Track infrastructure role on the program involved overall responsibility for the interface, financial management, budget ownership $170+m per annum, operational disruption management, Safety compliance towards ONRSR, occupation and planning management, ARTO training, risk management and, acceptance and handover, commercial amendments to assets / operations / infrastructure lease including Operating and Maintenance Cost claims on a monthly basis, Works Readiness and Operational Readiness management.
  • The MTM Commercial & Financial Management — this role included the oversight and management of the finances and claims with the State government of Victoria. This included daily target outturn costs (TOC) reconciliations against a set agreed claimable units from the State government. This was rolled up into a monthly claim to the State in excess of $10-25m+ on a monthly basis. To do this effectively we had to develop robust benchmarking, claims assessment, cost control mechanism on a daily and nightly basis (as a lot of the work was completed after the last train at night). To do this effectively, there was a need to ensure all mapping of plant, machinery, staff, contractors and overheads were estimated though a standard estimating and claims process. This enabled claims to be review and endorsed from Department of Transport (DOT)/Public Transport Victoria (PTV) with minimal queries or questions. When there was a need to complete larger scope of works, that needed tier 1 or Tier 2 major contractors, a detailed tendering and procurement process was administer by the T&S Representative. Overseeing a budget of over $170+m there was a need to ensure value for money, transparency and oversight was in place to ensure the contractors that were selected were appointed with detailed scope, bespoke and specific contracts that would not enable variation claims.
  • The MTM Technical Interface Manager — Track Infrastructure, where our key T&S member was responsible for design and engineering management with associated standard waivers, refinement to improve design solution, construction methodology, staging, constructability assessments and analysis on operational impacts for railway, verification works and operational / maintenance (whole-of-life assessment) analysis of construction versus operational impact confirmation. This role was responsible for Track renewals, turnout renewals and wheel / rail husbandry. The role covered key track maintenance activities and O&M contract procurement and management of specialised and niche track maintenance, such as rail milling, track geometry capture and lubrication strategy upgrades. Further, there was a requirement to negotiate and oversee any lease boundaries changes with VicTrack for DOT & PTV as the authorised Rail infrastructure manager. This included amendments to PASS systems update, ellipse asset data registration and development of lease boundary deed amendments. This was also inclusive for power, utilities, gas and other entities whose assets that are within the rail corridor that we were maintaining and renewing as MTM representatives.

Project Challenges & Achievements

The maintenance and renewals department within MTM had significant complexities, being an operational railway. The works required substantial long-term planning for major works, as well as reactive works for safety critical asset renewals.

The track department was in charge with one of the largest budgets to ensure the track infrastructure was reliable and able to keep trains moving every day. All these MTM works were high pressure and working within tight timelines, limited maintenance budget targets and compressed programs.

A considerable amount of work and innovative thinking was required to plan and deliver major and minor works within an operational rail network. This included developing innovative solutions such as.

  • Constructability Assessments — MTM conducted construction activities in a heavy Brownfields rail environment, both in proximity of operating rail as well as in vicinity of live railway assets. Our T&S representatives were integrally involved with the construction teams to develop and assess different approaches and methodologies to minimise impacts to ensure all works are completed.
  • Construction Staging — staging to reduce operational impact on trains and commuters, implementing single line working, major disruptive occupation shuts. Due to the finite resource pool available for suitably qualified track professionals, machinery and materials these works needed to be planned and delivered on a nightly basis without incidents, overruns or budget overspends.
  • Site Planning Management — site Assessments across the MTM site areas of works. Our T&S representatives were integrated with the construction and planning teams to plan work sequencing and site plans needed for each stage, as well as what works needed to be carried out to free up the footprint. This involved both technical site planning, as well as negotiations with blue collar staff under the Enterprise Bargaining Agreement (EBA), stakeholder engagement, community representation and liaison with authorities.
  • Construction Verification — all works were completed within the Metropolitan infrastructure boundary/lease our MTM interface Lead developed a construction verification and Quality Assurance (QA) process and completions acceptance with MTM. For an operational network that required us to complete works 24/7, this involved ensuring these process and procedures that are completed without any issues or concerns.

Our Approach to Teamwork, Cooperation, and Innovation

T&S members led the technical, commercial, planning and controls area within the MTM track division for all maintenance and renewals works. We were able to build a strong relationship with the State government of Victoria, MTM and the local community where all works were being delivered across the 990km network.

Our approach was to provide highly competent and proven infrastructure specialists that understand the complexities of these major projects and focused on working inclusively, open and transparent. Our representatives were regularly acknowledged for their ability to manage tough and difficult situations, but through leadership, technical understanding and diplomacy was able to find the right outcome for all parties.

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