CMMS: Keeping Trains on Track - eMaint

CMMS: Keeping Trains on Track

One of the deadliest rail accidents in years occurred July 6, 2013 when a train carrying 72 carloads of
crude oil derailed and exploded killing 50 and incinerating 30 buildings in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec. The
incident is the latest in a slew of rail accidents in Canada, renewing calls for more stringent standards
for ethanol and crude oil tank cars, especially in lieu of the skyrocketing surge of crude-oil shipments
by rail in the past five years, a trend which is expected to continue indefinitely. The train’s operator,
Chicago-based Rail World, plans to conduct its own investigation in addition to the criminal one Canada
has planned, to determine the cause of the accident. But whatever the cause is determined to be, most
assuredly greater controls of rail safety will be called for.


The American Association of American Railroads (AAR) has standardized coding systems to identify
location, component, failure, cause and remedy types that can be configured in computerized
maintenance management software (CMMS) database and on user-interface. Advances in geographic
positioning systems (GPS), wireless networking, radio frequency identification (RFID), automatic vehicle
location (AVL) and onboard vehicle systems further expand the functionality that CMMS can bring in
enabling rail operators to fulfill government expectations they implement greater intelligent transit
systems (ITS). Through utilizing the proper CMMS, rail operators/owners can record component repairs,
warranty tracking, failure reporting and service contract management seamlessly, thereby making
regulatory compliance less complex and burdensome.

The key to successful railway CMMS implementation is due diligence in selecting the provider. Too
often transportation and transit agencies attempt to implement a generic CMMS application without
checking that its functionality addresses their particular requirements. To avoid costly workarounds,
these organizations must take due care in selecting their provider from the hundreds on the market.

Equipment Work and Safety Plans

Many looking at the recent rail accident in Canada are questioning the jurisprudence of reducing train
crews from the typical five-man crews of the 70s and prior eras, to the more common one-man crew of
today. Cost has to be weighed against safety, which makes using a robust CMMS even more attractive
for lean rail crews. To keep work and safety plans – the backbone of maintenance crew activity – in
order, CMMS streamlines preventative (PM) and predictive maintenance (PdM), component changeout, and corrective actions that need to be taken, continuously. Safety plans augment work plans
by identifying hazards and precautions. CMMS can further augment safety plans by enabling safety
and planning personnel to attach Material Safety Data Sheets, (MSDS) safety equipment, special
instructions, diagrams, pictorials or electronic images to work orders, thereby creating a 360 degree
view for operators and managers to ensure greater continuity of service and preventative maintenance



Dana Madama is the Online Marketing Manager at eMaint Enterprises, located
in Marlton, NJ, which provides CMMS and EAM solutions for all of your
maintenance and asset management needs.

2013-07-30T14:57:18+00:00July 30, 2013|Resources|