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Comparison of life cycle costing and economic benefits of different wayside lubrication technology in heavy haul railway

Rail wheel service life and incurred cost significantly contribute to the economy and performance of Heavy haul railway operations. Effective wayside lubrication becomes part and parcel of steps to combat wear and improves service life multiple times compared to unlubricated rail and wheel. Currently three different types of technology of wayside lubrication are in practice throughout Australian heavy haul operation such as mechanical, hydraulic and electric lubricators. Older lubricator technologies i.e. mechanical and hydraulic, may be attractive from initial low investment point of view; however they harvest significantly lower benefits throughout their life cycle compared to enormous potential of latest technology ( i.e. electric) in the market. However, a proper economic analysis is essential to determine the cost effectiveness of these technologies which may help the heavy haul operators to have a clear understanding of the real benefits which may encourage establishing appropriate asset strategy they need. There are several closely related and commonly used methods for evaluating economic performance. These include life cycle cost analysis (LCCA) method, net benefits (net present worth) method, benefit/cost (or savings-to-investment) ratio method, internal rate-of-return method, and payback method. The basic concept of all these methods is to provide an indication on the cost effectiveness of a single technology. However, LCCA method is a preferred method amongst them because it provides most cost-effective design alternative over a period of life time that includes both the capital cost and ongoing maintenance and operating costs. In current heavy haul practice it is very rare to see any effective asset tactics and asset strategy in place which can evaluate asset performance and their incurred cost. Structured lubrication asset strategy and genuine practice can significantly contribute to heavy haul operations cost reduction, continuous improvement of human resource and sustainable lubrication practice. This paper presents a frame work and model of lifelong lubrication asset strategy and quantifies the benefits throughout incoming journey of Australian heavy haul using LCCA.


Category 4 - CRC Research Income


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Brisbane, Australia



Place of Publication

Sydney, NSW

Peer Reviewed


Open Access


External Author Affiliations

Centre for Railway Engineering; Not affiliated to a Research Institute; School of Engineering and Technology (2013- );

Era Eligible


Name of Conference

International Congress of Condition Monitoring and Diagnostic Engineering