Using probabilistic fault tree analysis and monte carlo simulation to examine the likelihood of risks associated with ballasted railway drainage failure

Kristianto Usman, Michael Burrow, Gurmel Ghataora, Manu Sasidharan

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Abstract

Inadequate track drainage can lead to a variety of issues, including flooding, accelerated track degradation, and progressive or sudden failure of railway track, slope, or embankment. These can result in unplanned track maintenance, additional passenger travel costs, and damage to third party property. However, railway drainage asset management is challenging because it involves the consideration of large interconnected assets, limited maintenance budgets, and unknown failure probabilities. To address this issue, this paper introduces a risk-informed approach for railway drainage asset management that uses fault tree analysis to identify the factors that contribute to railway drainage flood risk and quantifies the likelihood of the occurrence of these factors using Monte Carlo simulation. This rational approach enables drainage asset managers to evaluate easily the factors that affect the likelihood of railway track drainage failure, thereby facilitating the prioritization of appropriate mitigation measures and in so doing improve the allocation of scarce maintenance resources. The analysis identified 46 basic and 49 intermediate contributing factors associated with drainage failure of ballasted railway track (undesired event). The usefulness of the approach is demonstrated for three sites on the UK railway network, namely, Ardsley Tunnel, Clay Cross Tunnel, and Draycott. The analysis shows that the Clay Cross Tunnel had the highest probability of drainage failure and should be prioritized for maintenance over the other two sites. The maintenance required should focus on blockages because of vegetation overgrowth or debris accumulation.
Original languageEnglish
JournalTransportation Research Record
Early online date19 Apr 2021
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 19 Apr 2021

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