Rise of the smart train

Building trains at its Derby Litchurch Lane site is just one of many facets of Bombardier’s business in the UK. 

Maintenance and engineering also feature heavily in the company’s portfolio. Today, contracts between train operating companies and manufacturers often encompass both train manufacture and maintenance, so having these capabilities ‘under one roof’ is a major asset for a supplier hoping to secure more deals. 

Bombardier has been busy developing its Services portfolio to offer a range of complementary fleet management and maintenance packages to support its new trains. One such solution, which has been deployed to good effect at its Central Rivers depot is AVIS. 

Martin Rennoldson, Group Account Director at Bombardier, explains: “AVIS stands for Automatic Vehicle Inspection System.”

The Central Rivers depot, located just outside Burton upon Trent, is home to the CrossCountry fleet of Class 220s and 221s, as well as Virgin Trains’ fleet of ‘221s’. These intercity trains were built by Bombardier in 2001/2002 and can be found running on routes from Scotland to the SouthWest, travelling as far north as Aberdeen, as far south as Bournemouth and as far west as Penzance.

The VT fleet runs from London Euston to Shrewsbury, Holyhead and Glasgow. These trains, like the XC fleet, cover huge distances per week and reliability is paramount for both train operating companies in maintaining acceptable service levels. 

AVIS is a cost-effective train inspection system that supports condition-based maintenance. It can be used to inspect a range of train systems and components including brake pads, wheels, pantographs and collector shoes. The system delivers accurate information to Bombardier’s award-winning Orbita system to drive maintenance interventions and forward planning. Bombardier describes Orbita as “maintenance with intelligence”. It combines real time asset condition data with cross-fleet engineering knowledge to provide operational intelligence.

Orbita gathers data from Bombardier’s fleet knowledge and engineering expertise and is used to enhance the active management of vehicle maintenance, performance and operation. This has enabled Bombardier to move from a period-based maintenance regime to an approach whereby a significant proportion of maintenance tasks are condition-based. This, the company says, reduces unwarranted component replacements and means trains are out of traffic for a shorter period of time.

Through tools such as Orbita and AVIS – which combined form Bombardier’s AIMS (Asset Information Management Services) the trains themselves can be used as tools for monitoring operations and ultimately can provide data for fuel usage, passenger demand, delay analysis, infrastructure and environmental conditions. Analysing this data allows Bombardier to optimise fleet maintenance through the reduction of manual inspections, material usage and therefore cost. In addition, optimising both preventative and corrective maintenance activity through the use of condition based prognostic data improves availability and performance. Bombardier can also use AIMS to optimise fleet performance for energy management, smart stabling, energy metering, driver advisory services, monitoring environmental impact through track condition, overhead lines, weather and temperature.  It can also analyse passenger loadings, assessing dwell times and examine congestion warnings. 

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  • Andrewjgwilt1989 - 23/04/2016 00:51

    I do like how Bombardier have built the DEMU Meridians for East Midlands Trains, Turbostar DMU's and Electrostar EMU's across the UK with the Aventra EMU's to be built for TfL MTR Crossrail and TfL London Overground and possibly more Electrostar and Turbostar trains to be built (like the Class 379 Electrostars for Abellio GA) and even Bombardier could win the contract to build the new London Underground rolling stocks for the Piccadilly and Bakerloo lines and possibly Central and Waterloo & City lines as they built the 2009 stocks for the Victoria Line and the S7 & S8 Sub Surface stocks (S-Stocks) for the Metropolitan, Circle, Hammersmith & City and District lines and new Docklands Light Railway rolling stocks for the DLR. Bombardier have built the most amazing trains for the UK and across Europe and Worldwide including North America aswell as they are Canadian based company.

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