New tech speeds up maintenance for Metlink trains

Sustainability & Technology

Metlink train services are trialing first-of-its kind technology in New Zealand to identify maintenance issues faster, helping to reduce disruptions and improve the reliability of services for customers.

For six months Johnsonville, Melling, Kapiti and Hutt Valley train lines will trial a Pantograph Collision Detection System (PCDS) that assesses the overhead wire conditions and reports if they require maintenance.

Metlink rail assets lead, Barry Fryer says, “This clever piece of tech allows our operators early insight of the condition of rail wires, all while the train is running its regular services so there are no disruptions to passengers’ daily commute.”

Previously, to assess overhead rail wires these manual inspections required services to stop and needed more manpower, time and good weather.

“Effectively, our operators can front foot maintenance problems by getting more accurate data on overhead wire conditions before they cause disruptions, while freeing staff up for other priorities,” says Barry Fryer.

The PCDS technology is smart in many ways – it runs on solar energy combined with battery and reports back to operators in real-time through 3G.

Luke Basilicata, the fleet engineering manager from Transdev, Metlink’s rail operator says, “The Pantograph Collision Detection System should help reduce the 230 labour hours and tens of thousands of dollars in materials spent in the past two years in corrective maintenance on the fleet.

“If the trial is successful, we hope to install up to three more PCDS on our trains - which will go a long way towards improving the safety and reliability of our network,” says Luke Basilicata.

Metlink general manager, Scott Gallacher says, “Metlink is always looking forward to find innovative ways to deliver more reliable and efficient public transport, while ensuring the health and safety of our passengers.

“The trial of this new technology is a fabulous example of how our operators are exploring more effective ways to boost maintenance procedures and reduce disruptions along the way,” adds Scott Gallacher.