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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 societys 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

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

Maintainability and
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 itemunder combined aspects of its reliability, maintainability, and maintenance supportto
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]

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]

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

It will also be worth mentioning dependability which is mentioned in the CENELEC
Standards but not defined directly. FIND A REFERENCE
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
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

= 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
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)
CLC/TR 50126-2 February 2007 - Railway applications -The specification and
demonstration of Reliability, Availability, Maintainability and Safety (RAMS) -Part 2: Guide
to the application of EN 50126-1 for Safety