Planning the Infrastructure Performance of Railway Decision Support for Track Design of a Dutch High-speed Rail Link



Planning the Infrastructure Performance of Railway Decision Support for Track Design of a Dutch High-speed Rail Link

Authors

ZOETEMAN A and HEIJDEN R E C M VAN DER, Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands

Description

Many Member States of the European Union are implementing a new policy on railways affecting the management of infrastructure and operations. After the Second World War most railways were operated as state-owned integrated companies: the national railway

Abstract

Many Member States of the European Union are implementing a new policy on railways affecting the management of infrastructure and operations. After the Second World War most railways were operated as state-owned integrated companies: the national railway was responsible for all tasks related to rail transport, such as ticketing, capacity allocation between passenger and freight transport, timetabling, train operations, and infrastructure construction and maintenance. Due to their reducing share in the modal split, railways lost importance in the context of transportation policy.

During the 1990s a new interest in the role of the railways in the overall transportation system arose among policy makers. Railways are increasingly considered an (environment-friendly) alternative for congested roads [Vincent et al, 1996]. However, for a revitalisation of the railways a separation of infrastructure and operations was deemed highly necessary in order to stimulate efficiency and innovation in transport operations [Wijffels et al, 1992]. Moreover, this should be achieved by replacing public companies by profit-driven operating companies. A separate entity should provide the infrastructure with a variety of operators.

The degree of 'vertical separation' changes from one country to another. The United Kingdom is a radical example of railway restructuring. British Rail was privatised and split into many transport operating companies (TOCs), rolling stock leasing companies (ROSCOs), a privatised infrastructure manager (Railtrack) and a number of maintenance and renewal companies [Alexandersson et al, 1997]. Railtrack has to earn its income with infrastructure fees. A performance regime with penalty payments must guarantee that potential train delays are taken into consideration in decision making on the infrastructure.

In the Netherlands a distinction is made between the national core network, the new high-speed line and regional lines [Ministry of Transport, 1998]. Three so- called 'task organisations' have been distinguished for the management of the railway infrastructure of the core network and regional lines 1.

'The task organisations each have a distinct task in the infrastructure management [Wijffels et al, 1992]:

* Railinfrabeheer is responsible for design and maintenance of railway assets, such as track, power supply, communication, command and control systems.

* Railned is responsible for the railway safety, capacity planning and capacity allocation. It develops prognoses for the need of railway assets. In order to facilitate the transportation demand new infrastructure or upgrading of the assets has to be planned; this prognosis is therefore input for Railinfrabeheer. Moreover, it functions as a 'slot co-ordinator' between the train operators and Railinfrabeheer (maintenance works) 2.

* Verkeersleiding is responsible for daily traffic control (the operational level). It controls the operation of train services and maintenance works in order to avoid conflict situations that endanger the railway safety.

For the High Speed Line Zuid a different arrangement is being made. The design and maintenance of the infrastructure during 25 years will be tendered to a private sector based Infrastructure Provider [HSL-Zuid Project Organisation, 1999]. More details will be discussed in paragraph 4.

Another remarkable change in the last few years is the growing importance of contractors in the infrastructure maintenance: shortly after the establishment of Railinfrabeheer the maintenance staffs were transferred to the three Dutch railway contractors. This means that Railinfrabeheer plans and controls the maintenance activities being carried out by the contractors [Swier, 1998].

The changing setting leads to new requirements and tasks for infrastructure management. The issue is that so far these consequences have not been studied extensively. Tools for the support of adequate strategies are therefore hardly available. The aim of this paper is to explore possibilities to fill in this gap, especially for the design and maintenance of the infrastructure.

In paragraph 2 consequences of the organisational changes for the design and maintenance of railway assets will be outlined. Paragraph 3 discusses a life cycle costing approach that should help decision makers in dealing with emerging performance requirements. An application during the tender of the Dutch High Speed Line Zuid is described in paragraph 4. Paragraph 5 presents the conclusions.

Publisher

Association for European Transport