March 2010 in Train Operations
Maintenance issues raised in National Express East Coast (NXEC) repair books are of concern to a reporter. Responses such as For Home Depot Attention (FHDA) and Next Major Exam (NME) are written next to reported faults in the repair books, which the reporter feels are inappropriate as they do not clarify what attempts are actually being made to fix the problem.
The reporter also points out the disturbing noise levels that result from defective air conditioning units in driving cabs can play on drivers‟ minds and often be mentally distracting. The failure of replacing LED lights - with explanations such as Not In Stock (NIS) - is also of concern. It is felt that the need for repairs is not being taken seriously.
Repair books, positioned in driving cabs of NXEC trains, have been reported to go missing when they list faults repeatedly. The reporter highlights that the pages are not full before the book is replaced and there is no explanation as to what happens thereafter.
The reporter questions whether it is acceptable for fault repairs to be deferred for reasons such as NIS, and why repair books appear to go missing even though they have not been completed. Please comment.
Following a survey of the repair books the reporter is correct in identifying that some books do have comments such as FHDA and NIS written into them. The responses in the repair book are aimed at confirming that the fault or report has been logged and that the issue will be addressed. The fact that it may not be apparent to the reporter when the vehicle will be returned to the home depot or when the material becomes available, or when the next exam is due makes it difficult to give the reporter positive confirmation that the issue raised is being managed in a timely fashion.
In some repair books repeat faults were identified and indeed some faults have taken a number of attempts to rectify before being successful. It‟s difficult to confirm or not that repair books go missing but the survey confirmed a cross section of ages ranging from new through to months old which would be typical of the maintenance operation. As part of the "S‟ exam the repair books are checked nightly and confirmed as safe for service.
It should also be noted that comments made in any repair book are also logged into RAVERS so if a repair book does go missing, or is changed for any reason, the fault is not lost it will be shown on the RAVERS record which is reviewed at each exam. In respect to overall issues, the business has been focusing effort on material availability and driving supplier performance. For example, whilst the HST power car refurbishment programme has been completed, suppliers continue to be pressed through warranty support to address issues such as air conditioning problems and fitment of doors which are generating cab noises. I hope this gives the reporter confidence that the issues raised are being dealt with.