Reliability-centered maintenance of the Electrically Insulated Railway Joint via Fault Tree Analysis: A practical experience report

Enno Jozef Johannes Ruijters, Dennis Guck, Martijn van Noort, Mariëlle Ida Antoinette Stoelinga

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionAcademicpeer-review

    10 Citations (Scopus)
    292 Downloads (Pure)


    Maintenance is an important way to increase system dependability: timely inspections, repairs and renewals can significantly increase a system’s reliability, availability and life time. At the same time, maintenance incurs costs and planned downtime. Thus, good maintenance planning has to balance between these factors. In this paper, we study the effect of different maintenance strategies on the electrically insulated railway joint (EI-joint), a critical asset in railroad tracks for train detection, and a relative frequent cause for train disruptions. Together with experts in maintenance engineering, we have modeled the EI-joint as a fault maintenance tree (FMT), i.e. a fault tree augmented with maintenance aspects. We show how complex maintenance concepts, such as condition-based maintenance with periodic inspections, are naturally modeled by FMTs, and how several key performance indicators, such as the system reliability, number of failures, and costs, can be analysed. The faithfulness of quantitative analyses heavily depend on the accuracy of the parameter values in the models. Here, we have been in the unique situation that extensive data could be collected, both from incident registration databases, as well as from interviews with domain experts from several companies. This made that we could construct a model that faithfully predicts the expected number of failures at system level. Our analysis shows that that the current maintenance policy is close to cost-optimal. It is possible to increase joint reliability, e.g. by performing more inspections, but the additional maintenance costs outweigh the reduced cost of failures.
    Original languageUndefined
    Title of host publicationProceedings of the 46th annual IEEE/IFIP International Conference on Dependable Systems and Networks, DSN 2016
    Place of PublicationUSA
    PublisherIEEE Computer Society
    Number of pages8
    ISBN (Print)978-1-4673-8891-7
    Publication statusPublished - Jul 2016
    Event46th Annual IEEE/IFIP International Conference on Dependable Systems and Networks, DSN 2016 - ENAC, Toulouse, France
    Duration: 28 Jun 20161 Jul 2016
    Conference number: 46

    Publication series

    PublisherIEEE Computer Society


    Conference46th Annual IEEE/IFIP International Conference on Dependable Systems and Networks, DSN 2016
    Abbreviated titleDSN 2016
    Internet address


    • Statistical Model Checking
    • EWI-27073
    • Maintenance
    • IR-100741
    • Fault Tree Analysis
    • METIS-318459
    • Fault Maintenance Trees

    Cite this