ELECTRIC multiple-units operated at 3 kV DC by South Africa Rail Commuter Corp are up to 42 years old, requiring a careful approach to maintenance to keep them running. The period between general overhauls for the Class 5M2A fleet had been extended from seven to 18 years, but part of the price had been problems with reliability. With no immediate prospect of a replacement fleet, SARCC called in Interfleet Technology and local company Oisin Projects to draw up a revised maintenance plan and to review the general overhaul specification.

Interfleet’s analysis of depot and other work carried out by operator Metrorail and by SARCC’s overhaul contractors revealed significant differences in planning and documentation between regions. This prompted the introduction of a revised overhaul specification and of changes to maintenance planning to avoid duplication of work and to distinguish better between light and heavy maintenance. Recommendations were made to use scheduled component overhauls on a planned basis to allow work to be carried out by any qualified contractor to consistent quality standards. Interfleet reports that the planned and consistent maintenance throughout the network is already considered ’commercially sound and ... a good investment’.