You are on page 1of 7


Introduction RAMS is becoming increasingly important in the railway driven by the need for better services cheaper services which are also safe. Railways have a good record for safety when compared to other modes of transport [xx]. If one looks at the development of safety in the railways, many of the safety controls and changes that have been fraught in have been the result of accidents.

Because of, amongst other things, the changes of society’s acceptance of risk, changes to the law and the gathering complexity of the railway system a very proactive approach to identifying, accessing and mitigating risk is necessary. Best practices in these areas for railways are encapsulated in the Cenelec Standards EN50126 [xx], EN50128 [xx] and EN50129 [xx] and the Engineering Safety Managements Guidance – The Yellow Book 4 [xx].

We will then define the terms correctly so that the topics can be discussed clearly and unambiguously. We will then look at some of the risks that are encountered on the railway. We will then discuss the means available to contain these risks and reduce them to an acceptable level. This covers the “S” in RAMS.

The Standard EN50126 introduces the concept of dependability which describes the characteristic of both a safe and available railway. This relationship will be discussed.

We will the look at RAM in respect of the railway and the approached that have and can be employed to enable the railway to meet targets for reliability and other performance indicators.

Before we look at the more detail regarding the application of RAMS in the railway we will define what is meant by the acronym.


Reliability Availability Maintainability and Safety

1. First of all reliability. This is more or less universally defined similarly but here we will use the precise definitions from the [1] Gold Book IEEE Std 493 2007 , [2]IEC60050 (191) or EN50126-1999 [3]


The ability of a component or system to perform required functions under stated conditions for a stated period of time. [1]

Reliability: The probability that an item can perform a required function under given conditions for a given time interval (t1, t2). [2].


The ability of an item—under combined aspects of its reliability, maintainability, and maintenance support—to perform its required function at a stated instant of time or over a stated period of time [2].

availability: The ability of a product to be in a state to perform a required function under given conditions at a given instant of time or over a given time interval assuming that the required external resources are provided.[3]

that the required external resources are provided.[3] Maintainability maintainability: The probability that a


maintainability: The probability that a given active maintenance action, for an item under given conditions of use can be carried out within a stated time interval when the maintenance is performed under stated conditions and using stated procedures and resources. [2]

Safety This definition is from Freedom from unacceptable risk of harm [3]. This modified slightly in the guidance note for EN50126 [3] which is EN50126-3 [4].

This could be misleading, because the aspect .harm. is already included in the term .risk. as defined in above. To avoid misunderstandings the shortened definition .freedom from unacceptable risk” is more appropriate


Dependability It will also be worth mentioning dependability which is mentioned in the CENELEC

Standards but not defined directly.


Put in fig from en50126

RISK [4]

EN 50126-1 defines this term as:

the probable rate of occurrence of a hazard causing harm and the degree of severity of that harm. This is often misinterpreted to mean: The probable rate of occurrence of a hazard that may cause harm and the degree of severity of that harm. The problem is that the occurrence of a hazard is not equivalent to an occurrence of harm. In order to make risks comparable with each other it is important to consider the probability that a hazard actually leads to harm. For example, if the barriers at a level crossing do not close when commanded (hazard) this does not automatically lead to a crash between a train and a car (i.e. accident or occurrence of harm). Correct interpretation:

The rate of occurrence of accidents and incidents resulting in harm (caused by a hazard) and the degree of severity of that harm. Mathematically this is represented as:

Risk = Rate (of accidents) x Degree of Severity (of harm) Consequently, in Table 4 of EN 50126-1 (frequency-consequence-matrix) the title in the left column frequency of occurrence of a hazardous event” has to be read as .frequency of occurrence of an accident (caused by a hazard)”.


Safety of the Whole System Enginnering Safety – Technical and Functional Health and Safety, Construction and Maintenance Safety (CDM)

What is the system

Put in hierarchy diagarm


Firstly having defined reliability we will look at what is known as reliability engineering. Often the term RAM is used and it is useful to make the distinction between this and RAMS which also importantly includes safety.

Some Important Parameters

Failure Rate



There are also many other variations and extra definitions such as MTTF etc but they can be looked up in [1]. Also there is a bibliography at the end of this text that gives some of the hundred of books that are available on this topic. We will just focus on the 3 parameter above for now to give us a clearer picture of what we are talking about.

Failure RATE Failure Rate normally denoted as λ Defined in

This described how often or the frequency some item will failure in a unit time for example. Please not the value rate is described in terms of units and is not a probability. Probabilities do not have units and are usually expressed as percentages.

A transistor may have a published failure rate of 1failure per million hours


λ= 1x10 -6 /hour

For calculation purposed we usually use a constant failure rate. This is an approximation especially for items that wear out or have a higher initial failure rate or infant mortality. Using the constant failure rate makes the reliability mathematics much simpler. The reason a constant value is assumed is the lack of detailed data that describes the way that the failure rate changes over time. It is normally difficult enough to obtain a figure for a failure rate without the parameter for a non constant distribution such as the Weibull disribition. When the Beta paramenter equal 1(unity), then the Weibull distribution is mathematically equal to the exponential distribution, implying a random failure mode. It has been shown that the Weibull Beta parameter of a rolling element bearing has a value that closely approximate to 1.0 for its design life [4]. This means that it approximates it to an exponential distribution with a constant failure rate for the purposes of this study.

MUT - Mean Up Time Mean down time is the average time that a system is operational (no restore / repair or maintenance time). Opposite of MDT. MTTF - Mean Time To Failure The MTTF is the reciprocal of the failure rate. MDTF - Mean Distance To Failure MDTF is identical to MTTF , except for “Distance” instead of “Time” as the relevant allocation base.

MTBF - Mean Time Between Failure

This is the mean (average) time between failures of a system, and is often attributed to the "useful life" of the device i.e. not including 'infant mortality' or 'end of life'. Calculations of MTBF assume that a system is "renewed", i.e. fixed, after each failure, and then returned to service immediately after failure. The average time between failing and being returned to service is termed mean down time (MDT) or mean time to repair / restore (MTTR). The MTBF is the sum of the MTTF (mean time to failure) and MTTR (mean time to restore). MDBF - Mean Distance Between Failure

MDBF is identical to MTBF , except for “Distance” instead of “Time” as the relevant allocation base.

Other Definitions Relating to Availability

MDT - Mean Down Time Mean down time is the average time that a system is non-operational. This includes all time associated with repair, corrective and preventive maintenance; self imposed downtime, and any logistics or administrative delays. The difference between MDT and MTTR (mean time to repair) is that MDT includes any and all delays involved; MTTR looks solely at repair time.

Opposite of MUT. MTBM - Mean Time Between Maintenance

The mean time between maintenance contains of two parts:

– Mean Time Between Maintenance, corrective

– Mean Time Between Maintenance, preventive

MTBM (c) - Mean Time Between Maintenance, corrective The corrective mean time between Maintenance is identical to the Mean Time Between Failure. MTBM (p) - Mean Time Between Maintenance, preventive The periods of preventive maintenance will be defined in the maintenance plan. MDBM - Mean Distance Between Maintenance MDBM is identical to MTBM , except for “Distance” instead of “Time” as the relevant allocation base.

MTTM - Mean Time To Maintain

The mean time To maintain contains of two parts:

– Mean Time To Maintain, corrective

– Mean Time To Maintain, preventive

MTTM (c) - Mean Time To Maintain, corrective

Corrective maintenance, sometimes called "repair", is conducted to get equipment working again. The mean time for corrective maintenance contains for example a combination of the following parts:

– call/travel time

– access time

– time for spare parts provision (logistics)

– repair/replacement time

– test/start-up time

– data acquisition time

– waiting time

MTTM (p) - Mean Time To Maintain, preventive Preventive maintenance has the following meanings:

– The care and servicing by personnel for the purpose of maintaining equipment and facilities in satisfactory operating condition by providing for systematic inspection, detection, and correction of incipient failures either before they occur or before they develop into major defects.

– Maintenance, including tests, measurements, adjustments, and parts replacement, performed specifically to prevent faults from occurring. The mean time for the preventive maintenance will be defined from the maintenance plan according to the accomplishing work.

MTTR - Mean Time To Restore This is identical to Mean Time to Maintain, corrective. FAR - False Alarm Rate The false alarm rate is the frequency with which the system will report a non existing




Gold Book IEEE Std 493 2007


IEC60050 (191)


Railway applications - The specification and demonstration of Reliability,

Availability, Maintainability and Safety (RAMS )EN50126-1 (1999)


demonstration of Reliability, Availability, Maintainability and Safety (RAMS) -Part 2: Guide to the application of EN 50126-1 for Safety

CLC/TR 50126-2 February 2007 - Railway applications -The specification and