QUEST event simulation software is being used by Siemens to test proposed designs for train maintenance depots for the optimal use of staff and equipment.

Dassault Systèmes subsidiary Delmia UK studied what Siemens required from the computer models used to plan activities in its depots. Finnish consultancy Delfoi then implemented the resulting plans to produce interactive models using Quest. The models include details of over 50 different train maintenance tasks which must be carried out throughout the life of a vehicle, with frequencies from daily to every 12 years.

Rather than simply improving throughput, Siemens uses the software to plan its maintenance with a built-in time buffer, so that if something goes wrong the trains can still be delivered to the right place on time.

Quest was first trialled at Northam (RG 3.05 p153), where up to 22 EMUs can be undergoing maintenance at one time. ’Emboldened, we asked for models of the new facilities at Northampton and Manchester’, said Neil Heaton, Siemens’ General Manager, Rolling Stock Maintenance. ’We were validating early designs, and Quest showed us that the layout of the Manchester depot needed to be changed. For the first time, we enjoyed the luxury of trying out several iterations before choosing the best fit. As we were still at a relatively early stage in the design process and construction had not begun, we were able to move our connections to the rail infrastructure with ease, ensuring that all conflicting movements were eradicated.’

The models are now being further refined, with each maintenance task individually modelled. Quest will also be used for staff training and familiarisation, and depot controllers will be able to use it as a real-time model of train movements. ’The biggest change has been in the level of confidence we now have in our planning decisions’, said Heaton.

Delmia, UK