Part 2 of 3 - Applying Project Management to Rail Transit Rolling Stock Projects

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Part 3 of 3 - Applying Project Management to Rail Transit Rolling Stock Projects

Part 2 of 3 - Applying Project Management to Rail Transit Rolling Stock Projects



This article is collaboration between Lamont Ward, Senior Electrical Engineer at National Railroad Passenger Corporation (Amtrak), and Henry Hattenrath, Senior Technical Consultant – Parsons Transportation Group.   It was started with a simple question and answer to a posted article on Converting the Design-Bid-Build Contract Model for Design Build Delivery in the rail transit domain – see https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/converting-design-bid-build-contract-model-design-build-hattenrath/.  Or https://www.projectmanagement.com/blog-post/47557/Converting-the-Design-Bid-Build-Contract-Model-for-Design-Build-Delivery

This part continues to highlight the differences in project characteristics between construction and rail transit rolling stock purchases.  The characteristics are relative to a project management view as opposed to presenting the program Model showing the processes and life-cycle for development and production of rail transit vehicles.

Q7.      How is the warranty period managed over the extended delivery period?

A7.      Buyer’s warranty requirements are typically effective at the time the Seller’s product is placed into operation after substantial completion is achieved.   The warranty period is 12 months and it can cover labor and material for implementing action to restore as-designed vehicle operation.    Rolling stock contracts become more complicated because each vehicle becomes a product with individual milestones and attributes for delivery, testing, acceptance and the start and end of warranty.   This becomes more complicated if the product is updated during production to incorporate Buyer/Owner Initiated changes or product updates initiated by the Seller.   

Q8.      Are the Operation and Maintenance Manuals different for vehicle purchase contracts?

A8.      Buyer’s Operation and Maintenance (O&M) Manuals for construction contracts are usually a compilation  of products from various vendors and subcontractors providing products and system that make up the constructed asset.    For rolling stock contracts, the Manuals are more similar to the Manuals published and supplied with production automobiles.   The Manuals are  integrated and edited for use by a wide and diverse range of  Buyers and users.    The O&M Manuals are also on integral part of the training documentation and program of course for training operating engineers, train crews, and the maintenance and repair  staff.

Q9.      Performance of building systems is more familiar to Buyer’s than for vehicles.   What is a unique performance attribute for rolling stock?

A9.      Mean Time/Miles Between Failures is a unique industry proven metric for describing the quality of rail cars and locomotives offered to Buyers.   Sellers are required to provide this historical data for vehicles supplied to other Buyers.   Sellers and Buyers use this data to measure performance on prototype vehicles and on production vehicles to as-designed specifications and to identify potential items that may need to be re-designed.   It also extends into the warranty period where upgrades are often incorporated for in-service modifications. 

Q10.    Most construction projects have requirements for training and operation and maintenance manuals.  How are the requirements handled on rolling stock contract?

A10.    Buyer’s training requirements can be extensive and go beyond the most common for initial operation.   The training scope may be individual train curriculums for Engineers, Train Crew, Car Inspectors, and Running Repair/Maintenance Mechanics. The training materials are coordinated assure that the O&M Manuals and the training are closely integrated to maximize effectiveness.

Q11.   How different are the training requirements from those on construction projects?

A11.    Buyer’s training requirements can be extensive and go beyond the most common for initial operation.    The training scope may be individual train curriculums for Engineers, Train Crew, Car Inspectors, and Running Repair/Maintenance Mechanics.  The training materials are coordinated to assure that the O&M Manuals and the training are closely integrated to maximize effectiveness. 

Q12.    What type of testing is performed on the prototypes?

A12.   Burn in-period for first production train set of vehicles is used to verify compliance with performance criteria including operator and passenger comfort attributes such as compartment temperature and forces under acceleration, braking and traveling over switches and interlockings.   Instrumentation and simulated passenger loading may be used on the train set during a specified total quantity of miles, such as 1,000 miles.

Q13.   I have heard Buyers indicate that system contracts are similar to rolling stock contracts but different from construction contracts.   Can you explain this statement further?  

A13.    Most construction contracts contain drawings and specifications that provide prescriptive requirements based on Buyer’s criteria, including selected materials, coverings, furnishings and colors, and proven, commercially available products, and means and methods anticipated by the Buyer’s engineer and approved/endorsed by the Buyer.   During execution, there is little flexibility to vary from the drawings and specifications

In rolling stock contracts, the specifications and drawings provide the performance, functionality and features the Buyer expects from the Seller.   Much like the automotive industry, the Seller will design and manufacturer the rolling stock to meet the Buyer’s requirements by modifying its proven and available materials, equipment, and subassemblies to build an integrated product meeting the Buyer’s requirements.  While these contracts are typically lump sum, they are executed by Sellers more as design-build.   This approach results in frequent interactions by the Seller with the Buyer to formalize the customizable features of the rolling stock and to  meet the expectation of both the Buyer and the Buyer’s customers. 

Q14.    What kind of staffing  is required by the Buyer to manage and execute the rolling stock contract?   

A14.    Regardless of the total number of rolling stock in scope, the basic team for the Buyer will include:  Project Manager, Document Coordinator, Quality Manager, Project Controller, Contract Manager, Equipment Engineer, Master Mechanic-Operation/Maintenance, Transportation Manager,  ROW-Signal Engineer, Training Manager, Commissioning/Warranty Manager, and Consulting Engineer.  The basic team for the Seller will include: Project Manager, Contract Manager, Design Lead, Materials Manager, Reliability Manager, Production Manager, Quality Manager, Testing Manager, and Warranty Coordinator.   For projects with government funding, the team may include:  Oversight Consultant and Independent Engineering Consultant. 

Posted on: May 15, 2019 07:04 PM | Permalink

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