Bluefield Transport – Life Cycle Cost Analysis

January 30, 2018

Bluefield produce whole of life cycle costing models for our clients across many industries including rail and transport. We have developed these models for above rail assets that have ability to add significant value to an above rail operator.
Bluefield Capability
We have found that our clients get most value from these models in the following areas:

  • Developing a predetermined life cycle duration for trains and components
  • Optimising the life cycle costs over the life of the asset
  • Used across all different train classes
  • Show labour, parts and materials costs
  • Total $ spent or $/unit
  • The ability of the model to evolve over time with actual $ inputs to track against a baseline
  • This can also be used to compare the newer train classes against the older classes
  • Compare trains operating on the same lines
  • Look for any patterns that are affecting an above rail operator’s maintenance costs.

Total Cost per Period


Figure 1 – Total Cost per Period
The total cost per period function is used to visualize the breakdown of an above rail operator’s following costs:

  • The total maintenance cost
  • Total operational maintenance cost
  • Total labour cost
  • Resulting in a total capital cost
  • Any other inputs as required by an above rail operator.

The models are flexible and can be developed for any desired period, be it yearly, monthly or even weekly. This could be carried for each train class, a combination of all train classes or even for any individual unit.
Total Cost by Cost Centre
In order for an above rail operator to see where costs are being spent there is an opportunity to break costs down into cost centres. This allows both visibility and the ability to compare against previous periods, and predetermined benchmarked costs and similar time periods in previous years. Again this can be fully tailored to an above rail operator’s specific needs with any required inputs.

Some examples may include:

  • Wheelset costs – replacements or underfloor wheel lathe use
  • Braking system costs
  • Internal carriage fit out repairs and maintenance
  • Draft gear costs
  • Comparison of the same train classes operating on different lines to identify areas of higher $/km of operation to allow a more proactive maintenance approach

Figure 2 – Total Cost by Cost Centre
Baseline Comparison

Figure 3 – Cumulative Costs – Base Line Vs Actual
The above model of base line costs against actual costs will allow an above rail operator, over time; to track actual spend against the initial forecast. In addition to this it will allow an above rail operator to track costs of each class of train against another relevant class and track the costs of train fleets against each other or a desired or actual baseline.
Using this model will allow an above rail operator to refine maintenance practices to target areas of concern efficiently and identify areas where units are potentially being over maintained.
There are no limits to the Whole of Life Cycle Cost Forecasting model. It can be used to track any specific costs whether it is for maintenance, labour or operating costs and combine these to deliver a comprehensive forecast which can then be optimised.
The model can be used to compare train classes, compare trains operating on the same or different train lines as well as an above rail operator’s passenger fleets.
This model will allow an above rail operator to forecast accurate budgets and track progress against these by inputting actual costs over time with full ownership of the model.

Bluefield Transport Specialities

  • Project management of above rail improvement projects
  • Managing big data and ensuring the data provides value to the client
  • Equipment performance improvement
  • Reliability improvement and Reliability Centred Maintenance
  • Equipment performance benchmarking
  • Maintenance management and optimisation
  • Reliability engineering
  • Fleet optimisation
  • Operational readiness

Bluefield Transport have an experienced and dedicated team that is passionate about ensuring our clients are getting maximum value from their assets. Contact us now to discuss further.
Below is a testimonial from our client for this case study.

"Bluefield was engaged to review our infrastructure wagon maintenance strategy and tasks to improve efficiency, without compromising safety or reliability. Bluefield’s experience in rolling stock maintenance enabled cost savings to be identified by extending periods between major maintenance tasks, backed up by risk assessments and suitable documentation. Bluefield delivered quality work, with little supervision – a plus in our busy maintenance team."