Clean, safe, comfortable and reliable train services are standard elements of any world-class metropolitan network operation. Achieving this is not an easy task.
Providing passenger services likened to a fine Swiss timepiece with many intricate moving parts requires extensive knowledge and expertise. Essentially, it requires foresight to ready the network for patronage growth while optimising the performance of existing rail assets to deliver high levels of customer service to commuters.
A proven model for bringing world class rail networks to metropolitan hubs is by way of combining international operators with local asset managers and maintainers.
UGL has successfully adopted this model establishing joint ventures with international specialists. These include MTR Corporation of Hong Kong for world class metropolitan network operations, UK-based Unipart Rail for supply chain solutions and Texmaco Rail from India for the cost effective manufacture of rolling stock components.
UGL’s partnership with MTR Corporation has demonstrated how well a local-international collaboration can create highly reliable passenger car fleets. Both companies bring different but complementary skill sets together to create a powerful combination. Their partnership draws upon UGL’s asset management capability to increase network fleet availability, reliability and safety enabling MTR Corporation to deliver high levels of customer service.
This synergistic relationship includes a contract to maintain a fleet of 120 passenger cars which services the Kwun Tong Line in Hong Kong and the Metro Trains Melbourne (MTM) joint venture which also includes John Holland’s expertise in Infrastructure to manage the entire Melbourne metropolitan rail network. MTR Corporation also provides consultancy services to UGL Unipart (a newly formed joint venture) which performs heavy maintenance on the majority of Sydney’s passenger rolling stock fleet.
Phillip Johns, Chief Operating Officer for UGL’s rail business, explains that “A key business strategy for UGL has been to collaborate with leading international organisations to complement our complete rail offering. UGL’s joint venture partnerships achieve outstanding performance levels for network operations and fleet management. Overseas partners have also been a continuous source of learning and improvement for UGL’s wider rail capability”.
Mr Johns continued: “MTR Corporation is a long term strategic partner to UGL sharing a common goal to deliver highly reliable network systems to help meet public transport requirements”.
MTR Corporation’s world renowned capability was earned through the customer focused management of its highly successful four million passengers per day Hong Kong metro system. The MTR system has set the benchmark for rail operators around the globe. It has been this metro system that has built the company’s solid reputation and helped secure new contracts with other operators including metro systems in London, Stockholm, Beijing, Shenzhen, and Melbourne.
Since UGL’s contract started with MTR Corporation in Hong Kong in 2002, it has helped to reduce the frequency of service delays caused by train faults along one of the network’s busiest corridors, the Kwun Tong Line, as well as introduce a number of new maintenance procedures that bring the company critical acclaim. This includes winning the class one subcontractors safety award four years in a row and MTR’s ‘Seamless Partnering Award’ for seven of the last eight years.
This can be attributed to UGL’s asset management capability in Hong Kong focusing on continuous improvement of its systems which are essential to maintaining these metro trains to the highest standards, a requirement of MTR Corporation. Regular audits are conducted by UGL in order to measure its level of service and to identify areas for improvement whilst adhering to a stringent asset management philosophy.
UGL’s asset management philosophy is vindicated by key performance results achieved during its first seven years of providing maintenance services to Hong Kong’s MTR Corporation. These performance statistics are impressive showing an increase in train reliability, decreased extended delays and reductions in post train stabling failures.
Back home in Australia, UGL, MTR Corporation and John Holland are joint venture partners in Metro Trains Melbourne (MTM). This franchise contract began in 2009 and it will continue for eight years, with the option of extending for another 7 years. MTM is not only the network operator, but also the asset manager of more than 1,000 passenger cars and Melbourne’s entire rail infrastructure network.
The asset management practices used at MTM employ the same principals as UGL’s contract with MTR Corporation in Hong Kong but on a much larger scale. The joint venture is accountable for the rail network’s entire operation where asset management practices focus on continuous improvement and preventative maintenance. At a more detailed level, MTM is responsible for all aspects of the rail operator’s assets that include asset improvements, projections of future maintenance and manpower requirements to match operational targets.
UGL Unipart, a newly formed joint venture between UGL and Unipart Rail, now manages the heavy maintenance and logistics for 1,050 of RailCorp’s passenger cars at Auburn in Sydney’s west. MTR Corporation offers specialist consultancy services to support a new direction for UGL Unipart which will include asset management practices in addition to existing heavy maintenance services.
Mr Johns went on to say: “UGL Unipart specifically sought the internationally tested expertise of MTR. The introduction of MTR’s asset management systems and specialist resources to UGL Unipart will fundamentally enhance the delivery of services going forward”.
“The merging of our capabilities and strengths builds upon embedded knowledge in order to achieve the ultimate outcome – a highly satisfied travelling public”.