Need and Opportunities for a ‘Plan B’ in Rail Track Inspection Schedules

Mohd Haniff Osman, Sakdirat Kaewunruen, Anson Jack, Joseph Sussman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
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Track inspection is purposely performed to recover tracks from defects and damage and eliminate potential safety hazards. It is scheduled through an exhaustive process that usually integrates many disciplines such as optimization, statistics, risk management, etc. Spending so much of a monetary and an emotional investment in an original schedule (referred to as master schedule hereafter) that the scheduler wants to deliver might be a good excuse not to develop a solid ‘Plan B’. Plan B here refers to scheduler responses or a contingency plan when the master schedule does not go as expected. It is found that there is often low to moderate probability of a crisis occurring when a schedule is executed in a real environment. Nevertheless, its impact can leave transportation services to the mercy of the disruption as shown by the Christmas 2014 incident where a huge volume of passengers using King’s Cross and Paddington services experienced both inconvenience and discomfort due to engineering delays and train disruption. Thus, this paper aims to discuss the potential of considering ‘Plan B’ or contingency plan if incidents arise that were not expected during track inspection schedule execution. Benefits, general guidelines and relevant strategies for creating a contingency plan are also discussed. We highlight the rationale to support the claim that an original schedule of track inspection jobs should be adapted to respond to a new context e.g. inspection vehicle machine breakdown, new inspection requests, man-made hazards, terrorist attack, extreme weather, climate change, etc. It is however proposed to develop an appropriate set of performance measure that is used to guide rescheduling in track inspection due to financial, equipment inventory, manpower, safety regulations, time and spatial constraints.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)264-8
Number of pages5
JournalProcedia Engineering
Early online date18 Oct 2016
Publication statusPublished - 2016
EventWorld Multidisciplinary Civil Engineering-Architecture-Urban Planning Symposium 2016: WMCAUS 2016 - Prague, Czech Republic
Duration: 13 Jun 201617 Jun 2016


  • track inspection schedule
  • contingency plan
  • rescheduling
  • disruptive management
  • railway maintenance activities


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