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Irish Rail Interview

 

 

APRIL 2018

 

Irish Rail Interview

 

Irish Rail Interview: internal electronics repair creates huge value, increases overall efficiency and has a promising future.

 

With over 12 years' experience under his belt, Irish Rail's electronic repair facility manager, Ray Holden, sat down with me on the last day of ABI Electronics' technical training to talk about his views on internal maintenance and overhaul of electronic rolling stock systems. He also gave advice to newcomers and education providers and told me what his experience with ABI's test and repair systems has been like so far.

 

What can you tell me about your background in the rail industry?

 

RH: I started in 2006 as a commissioner engineer with CAF, the Spanish rail manufacturer. I worked there for a year and a half, two years maybe. That project was finished and then I moved on. The Irish Rail offered me a job where initially I would just do electrical fault finding as I knew all the systems from working with the manufacturer. So, it was a kind of an easy transition. We have come a long way since the time when I joined the company.

 

I understand that you set up the electronic repair facility at the Irish Rail. When and how did that come about?

 

RH: We had a big problem with parts availability back in 2007/08. Removing a failed part or component from a train meant it would be sent away, and you would not get that back for 6…9 months. In the meantime, you wouldn't have enough stock available, so trains were taken out of service. This was a very popular practice; to remove parts of one train and put them into another to send that train into service. When you fill your day doing that, it’s soul-destroying. You learned to fix things and you know that’s not the way to go. So, what we started doing was getting our hands on parts, sometimes expensive parts, that were basically thrown in the bin or on the way out for external repair to see what we could do using our knowledge. Just as a part-time thing, mainly on nights. That process evolved over time. We started to see parts becoming available and, within a year, there were no parts being robbed from one train into another to send into service. Things grew from there. I put together a business plan and it was supported wholeheartedly by the Chief Mechanical Engineer and the fleet managers. They have totally bought into it.

 

 

Read all the interview here or watch the full video (subtitles available).

 


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