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The Office of the Auditor General's investigation of maintenance efficiency in the rail network

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Summary

Background and objective of the investigation

The primary objective of railway politics is to contribute to ensure that users of the transport service have good railway options. The Norwegian National Rail Administration isorganised under the Ministry of Transport and Communications, and its responsibilities include operation, maintenance and development of the State's railway infrastructure. The maintenance activities must safeguard safety, fixed assets and operational stability of the railway system. The most important objective for the maintenance is to reduce the scope of operational interruptions, and to facilitate better punctuality and regularity in rail traffic. TheStorting has been informed on multiple occasions that there is a maintenance backlog in the Norwegian railway infrastructure.

The objective of the investigation has been to evaluate whether the maintenance tasks that fall under the Norwegian National Rail Administration are carried out efficiently, and in such a way that safeguards practical and accessible transportation. The investigation covers the period from 2006–2015.

Findings and recommendations

So far, increased appropriations have not had the desired effect in achieving operational stability goals

  • Consumption of railway maintenance has exhibited a growth in real terms of nearly 110 per cent during the period from 2006–2014.
  • From 2006 to 2011, there was negative development in uptime and regularity. This development turned positive from 2011; however, the level in 2014 was still lower than in 2006. The results have lagged behind the Ministry's target figures for most of the period.
  • Overall, the punctuality goal has been achieved after 2012.

Weak control and follow-up of the maintenance work:

The Norwegian National Rail Administration's management has not put the necessary management tools into place

It is the opinion of the Office of the Auditor General that the Norwegian National Rail Administration's control and management systems do not provide the necessary information to ensure achievement of the efficient resource use goals.

The Norwegian National Rail Administration does not have comprehensive documentation of the overall condition of the railways

Local knowledge of the condition of the rails is good, but failure to record data in the railway databank 'BaneData' undermines general management and control.

The Norwegian National Rail Administration does not have a system for measuring maintenance productivity

Information about resource commitment (costs) and production (completed maintenance) is needed in order to measure productivity. The Norwegian National Rail Administration lacks precise information about total completed maintenance.

Necessary measures to improve maintenance management information have not beenprioritised

It is the assessment of the Office of the Auditor General that the management of the Norwegian National Rail Administration has notprioritised the necessary actions to ensure improvement. They have not established a sufficiently sound culture of improvement in theorganisation – and the Ministry's follow-up is deficient.

The Ministry has little information on whether or not appropriations are applied effectively

In the opinion of the Office of the Auditor General, the Ministry has not stipulated performance targets that yield sufficient information to determine whether maintenance appropriations are used effectively.

The Office of the Auditor General recommends

that the Ministry of Transport and Communications work with the Norwegian National Rail Administration, as well as through the establishment and follow-up of the new infrastructure enterprise, to ensure that management enhances its control and follow-up of the maintenance work; both that which is being performed by the agency itself, and by external suppliers, by

  • establishing a more systematic, comprehensive and strategic management of the maintenance
  • ensuring that necessary and reliable management information is actually available
  • assessing efficiency improvement options when planning maintenance to be carried out by external suppliers

and that the Ministry of Transport and Communications assesses whether the performance indicators set by the Ministry provide sufficient management information and efficiency in the maintenance of the railway system.

Ministry/ministries:

Riksrevisjonen, Storgata 16, P.O. Box 8130 Dep, 0032 Oslo, Norway

Phone: +47 22 24 10 00

Org.nr: 974 760 843