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ROLLING STOCK


Williams explained the two sides to aviation engineering – one is general maintenance, and the other is continuing airworthiness (known as European Aviation Safety Agency ‘Part M’), which breaks down into planning, technical records, engineering technical services, reliability, powerplant management, maintenance operations and more.


Different airlines have different approaches – some (such as Easyjet) keep a fleet of virtually new, expensive aircraft and replace them regularly to avoid the need for heavy maintenance and overhaul, while others are more willing to fly cheaper, older planes and pay to keep them up to scratch.


Williams described some of the differences between the ‘must do’ engineering operations under airworthiness directives, and the ‘nice to do’ things that may improve reliability but are not obligatory. He described the air freight industry as being “manic” about keeping delays


to an absolute minimum, and the difficulty of sourcing spare parts and components for some older aircraft.


He also explained more about the way he monitors the engineers via a daily status report, with every job categorised and given a time estimate. “I can see every card to ensure no-one is over-running,” he said.


The wide-ranging talk provoked a lot of interest and questions among the attendees – who frequently remarked on similarities to rolling stock maintenance.


They also got an in-depth seminar on non- destructive testing, followed by a hangar tour.


Sharing best practice


After the main session, RTM talked to Stuart Draper, engineering director at Northern, who chairs ATOC ReFocus.


He told us: “The ReFocus group is about bringing all the TOCs’


performance and


engineering people together to share best practice and to understand how we can improve the rail industry as a whole, from an engineering perspective.


“It’s not just about pure technical engineering: it’s about what we can do to influence and improve the whole operation for TOCs.”


He said he is keen to “take the train away”. He explained: “If you take people to a depot, they tend to just think about the train – so let’s go to another industry, and see how they do maintenance. It’s about processes, governance structures, doing things right first time: getting away from the train itself can help people think about that and look more broadly at the way things can be done.”


Continued overleaf > rail technology magazine Aug/Sep 13 | 35


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