The UK railway comprises of 20,000 miles of track and over 40,000 bridges. Much of the infrastructure is aging and, in order to satisfy the future demand for passenger and freight transport, will experience increased traffic densities and loads. The maintenance of such systems, to ensure a safe and reliable service restricted by limited financial resources, is a significant challenge and needs to be carefully managed. Computer models are used to support the decision making to establish the most cost effective maintenance strategy. The University of Nottingham is Network Rail’s Strategic University Partner in Asset Management and the Asset Management Research Group specialises in the development of models to support the asset management process. These models include the prediction of the rate of degradation of different railway assets, the effects on the asset state provided by different maintenance strategies and the optimisation of the maintenance strategy accounting for the limited resources available and the operational requirements of the railway.
Several projects are now available to predict the effects of maintenance on the railway operation. Some of these are focused on particular asset types such as: track, ballast, sleepers, points, electrification and signalling systems. Another aims to combine previous models developed to consider the maintenance of the individual system elements to formulate a system or route model. This will enable the most effective decision support accounting for issues (such as line possession, service provision and budget) which affect the route rather than the asset. The modelling methodology will be based on Petri nets.
Further details can be obtained from Prof John Andrews ([email protected]
The successful candidate will have (or will be about to receive) at least an upper second class degree in mathematics, engineering, physics or computer science with a strong skills in modelling and the development of software.
The studentship will cover PhD tuition fees and a tax free stipend for three years (£13,863 for the 2014-15 academic year). Due to funding restrictions this studentship is only available to UK/EU students.