Downer Group - Depot and Stabling Facility Assurance

Depot and Stabling Facility Assurance

As part of the Public Transport Victoria (PTV) High Capacity Metro Trains (HCMT) project a consortium of Downer EDi, CRRC Changchun Railway Vehicles and Plenary Group (together Evolution Rail) secured the PPP (Public-Private Partnership) contract to build the proposed East Pakenham Train Maintenance Facility (TMF) and Stabling Yard and provide Train Life Support (TLS) services for 30 years on the fleet at a new East Pakenham main depot and in service as well as at other out-depot locations.

Although Downer Group (Downer) was designing and building the whole East Pakenham depot facility for PTV, Downer were to operate the TMF / shed facility within the overall operation and control of the depot and stabling site by the Train Operator Metro Trains Melbourne (MTM) (the ‘Operator’). Downer will retain the TMF after the 30 year term and is free to optimise the TMF facilities (the Retained Rail Assets) to improve confidence of service delivery and improve whole-life cost. IPEX Consulting (IPEX) was contracted by Downer through 2XM, enlisting expert peer review by Hulland White, to verify the depot function and capacity and identify any necessary refinements in the design.


The performance obligations under the contract are especially stringent and require the practical working arrangements and the depot capabilities to be particularly carefully defined. Downer needed to verify the depot scheme through an independent review of the as-bid TLS functionality and consequential East Pakenham Depot Design response to identify areas to reduce or defer the Depot CAPEX without consequential whole-life cost (WLC) impacts to the TLS OPEX. The exercise involved a review of all of the East Pakenham TLS operations and works, with a specific focus on the Retained Rail Assets and Specialist Equipment, which stay in the control of the TLS contractor. Specifically, to identify and articulate:

  • Issues / risks that may jeopardise service delivery;
  • Potential savings in depot CAPEX without risk to service delivery or whole-life cost (WLC).

IPEX was able to apply a combination of a sound grasp of the commercial requirements and imperatives coupled with extensive railway operational and maintenance experience and knowledge. A simple two-stage method was followed:

Depot verification:

  • Identify the key depot functions fundamental to the operability of the depot and service delivery;
  • Analyse the depot operability at a high level, assessing the predicted activities and the corresponding capacity and facilities to deliver them, in order to identify any issues that may jeopardise service delivery.

Depot Capex assessment:

  • Identify the depot components that are Retained Rail Assets and Specialist Equipment which stay in the control of the TLS contractor, and which of them are the main cost items and may offer potential for savings;
  • Identify potential initiatives for further CAPEX savings and any associated issues with compliance with PTV’s requirements, impact on service delivery and impact on LCC (OPEX);
  • Select initiatives worth evaluating and undertake high level assessment of business case and potential risk to service delivery.

IPEX’s independent review delivered an expert verification and assurance to Downer that their value engineering had already delivered a highly capable and efficient depot solution within the client specification requirements and accommodating appropriately the interfaces with the train operation and the network. IPEX’s review also was able to identify potential CAPEX savings through altering the depot scheme slightly to enable some of the same new depot infrastructure construction to serve multiple purposes at different stages of the project, through designing and constructing the Integrated Test Facility in a location and configuration that enabled the investment to be re-purposed as the Wheel Lathe facility.  IPEX also suggested delaying construction of the bogie overhaul facility until the requirement could be re-evaluated in light of a strategic review of the company’s already substantial portfolio of competent overhaul facilities.