Distance instead of time: VTG will revolutionise wagon maintenance

2021/06/01 at 4:40 PM

To increase wagon availability for the customers, VTG will implement a new approach for the maintenance of its rolling stock. It will be based on distance instead of time as it works today. VTG will be the first European wagon owner to introduce the innovation.

In 2016 VTG started to equip its wagons with telematics for better monitoring of their speed, positioning and other options. These devices have become a basis for launching the VTG Connect digital solution that allows the customers to track the wagons. Now, the German company is moving further and has scheduled for 2022 to revolutionise its maintenance operations by using the capabilities of the VTG Connect. Instead of counting time intervals, the wagon leaser will be focused on the distance they cover when running.

“Our entire European fleet is fitted with telematics systems that are fundamental to the development of and transition to this new maintenance regime. As a result, customers will enjoy even greater wagon availability to accommodate their wishes,” explained Sven Wellbrock, VTG’s Chief Operating Officer Europe & Chief Safety Officer. Currently, the German company is verifying its wagons for compliance with mileage-based maintenance. As of today, two-thirds of VTG’s has been examined in this regard.

VTG freight wagons, source: VTG

Legal framework

The implementation of the new maintenance approach has become possible after entering into force some law amendments in Germany’s Railway Construction and Operation (EBO) regulations. The new legal framework, which was adopted in 2018, opened the door to the innovative approach. According to VTG, the mileage-based method will significantly simplify maintenance operations. However, all revision work will nevertheless still be performed in accordance with the VPI European Maintenance Guide (VPI-EMG).

“We will obviously keep to the proven technical rulebook. But at the same time, the underlying change of mindset will sow the seeds of a new maintenance culture. We are not altering the maintenance guidelines: We are simply applying real-time information to systems that already work,” said Frank Sadowski, Head of Technical Support & Safety at VTG Rail Europe.

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