At the heart of the programme, which East Coast has named Project Eagle, will be a modular engineering maintenance management system. This will provide an up-to-the minute maintenance scheduling and will work in conjunction with its recently launched remote control monitoring system called Project Falcon.
East Coast will evaluate bids from January to April 2012 before announcing a preferred supplier. The new technology should help the operator to maintain stock levels, manage warranty claims, improve vehicle performance, and drive a preventative maintenance philosophy.
Mr Ian Duncan, East Coast Engineering director, says other operators that have installed similar systems have experienced significantly improved efficiency and reliability. He expects East Coast's new system to deliver significant improvement in wheelset management.
"It can monitor, analyse and manage wheelset performance against expected wear rates by capturing wheel measurements from wheel lathes and depot wheel-measuring systems," Duncan says. "By building up a profile for each wheel across the fleet, it can provide turning and procurement plans, identify rogue wheelsets and schedule inspections. It can even monitor wheel-lathe operations."
"As an existing operator using it told us, there is "no place to hide. It becomes obvious if a train is allowed to continue to run with outstanding defects for days after they were first reported."