Managing Rolling Stock with a Life Cycle Approach

January 30, 2018

Life Cycle Cost Model

To ensure actual maintenance costs can be evaluated the asset owner must have a fully developed baselined life cycle cost model. This cost model, with accurate inputs from the OEM such as parts labour and material costs, will provide the tool the asset owner needs to ensure the OEM carrying out the maintenance is working as per the life cycle cost model. In the scenario where any variation from the life cycle cost model occurs the asset owner will be able to identify this immediately and can then hold the OEM to account to ensure maintenance costs are rectified.

Cost Transparency

In Bluefield’s experience asset owners may be charged for train maintenance by the OEM in the following methods:

  • Rate of cost per tonne of freight hauled
  • Rate of cost per kilometre travelled
  • Fixed fee

The asset owner must have complete transparency over the train maintenance costs from the OEM. This will ensure the asset owner can evaluate the performance of the trains against the maintenance spending and how effective the maintenance regime is. The most efficient cost model for an asset owner to have the OEM perform maintenance varies, however, a kilometre based approach is often more efficient than a cost per tonne or a fixed fee approach.

Industry Best Practise

To ensure asset owners are getting the most out of their assets maintenance practices by the OEMs must be in line with industry best practice and be adapting to the asset’s condition, duty and available technology. The OEM must be driving maintenance practices that ensure asset availability is maximised and the maintenance spend is as efficient as possible and can demonstrate actions to this effect to the asset owner. Maintenance regimes must be tailor-made for each asset based on condition, duty, and technology.

The asset owner must have the ability to audit both the execution of the maintenance regime to ensure it is suitable and tailored for each asset and the quality of the execution of the maintenance.


Any in-service failures or unscheduled maintenance requirements must be recorded by the asset owner and presented to the OEM for action. This, combined with the measurement of overall train performance, can allow the asset owner to further track the suitability of the OEM’s maintenance practices and ensure performance targets are met.


Bluefield has worked with rail clients that have arrangements in place where the train’s original equipment manufacturer (OEM) is responsible for all maintenance. Often this is a successful method of ensuring asset reliability as the OEM has extensive knowledge of the assets. What is critical for the asset owner is to ensure they have complete transparency not only in the execution and quality of maintenance but the costs involved to allow for comparison against the life cycle cost 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 AMS 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 one of our clients.

"Bluefield were 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."