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Changing HKG's rail system

08 March, 2010

Monash University's Institute of Railway Technology (IRT) has secured a four-year, $1 million contract, to provide MTR Corporation with strategic rail management and maintenance consultancy for its Hong Kong rail network.

The IRT will provide MTR Corporation - the major joint venture partner of the Metro Trains Melbourne - with comprehensive advice to optimise its wheel and rail maintenance practices.

IRT Business Manager Ravi Ravitharan said the contract was a milestone in terms of scope and longterm impact.

"The Institute has forged a strong relationship with MTR over the last two decades, but this contract is an important milestone. We will be playing a leading role in enabling MTR to proactively manage the vital wheel-rail, steel on steel, interface," Mr Ravitharan said.

"I think this project really confirms how much our expertise is recognised and valued in Hong Kong and around the world. We have a very strong track record in solving railway-related technical problems and we are delighted to be playing such a key role in helping MTR reduce overall rail management costs and increase the efficiency of Hong Kong's rail system."

Following its merger with Kowloon Canton Railway Corporation (KCR) in 2007, MTR is responsible for the entire passenger railway operation in Hong Kong. It has one of the world's most densely-uitilised urban mass transit systems, carrying more than 2.5 million passengers each day.

Mr Ravitharan said the main focus of the project was to provide MTR with the knowledge, procedures and software tools to proactively manage the wheel and rail interface in its Urban Lines, East Line and the Airport Railway lines - a difficult but vital interface for the railway operation.

The IRT has already conducted several studies to identify the causes of rail deterioration on MTR Corporation's Urban Line tracks and to devise strategies to reduce the rate of deterioration.

"In the past, the technical improvements recommended by the Institute, including modification of components and adoption of improved rail maintenance procedures, have provided significant savings in operating and capital costs. For example, the life of rail has increased by up to 350 per cent and expenditure on rail replacement has reduced by over 50 per cent.

"MTR recognise that a 'front foot' approach makes economic and management sense. From our previous experience we know that this project will enable MTR to improve further its operation which is already regarded as the benchmark within mass transit railway systems," he said.

Source: Monash University

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