Virginia Railway Express (VRE) Case Study

The Virginia Railway Express (VRE) is a commuter rail service with two major lines connecting Northern Virginia suburbs to Washington, DC.

VRE is a little different than the typical customer of maintenance management software. Among their assets are a fleet of 30 diesel/diesel-electric locomotives and around 100 bi-level passenger cars. These 300,000 pound railway vehicles cannot exactly be wheeled into a neighborhood auto repair shop whenever they need preventative maintenance – they require highly-specialized maintenance tasks and therefore a highly-versatile CMMS solution.

In Need of Flexible Software

John Duque, Manager of Information Technology at VRE, described a process of tracking parts that is particular to their industry. When a component (a wheel set, an air brake, etc.) is removed from a train car and sent away for repair, it is also removed from the inventory system. That way, when the repaired component returns it can be put back in the system with a new ID number and an associated cost equal to the repair cost. This type of “repair and return” process is distinct from the standard inventory tracking used in other industries. That is why VRE required a CMMS system that could adapt — not one set on rails.

MicroMain Answers the Challenge

The Virginia Railway Express was able to use MicroMain Maintenance’s range of inventory management features to simplify management of their $7M worth of inventory without forcing them to change their established inventory tracking process. Thanks to the software’s flexibility, they were able to continue tracking “repair and return” non-consumable components as inventory items.

An asset as conspicuous as a passenger train is probably not in danger of winding up missing. Nevertheless, effective asset and inventory management remain fundamental for helping VRE operate profitably by ensuring their assets are in optimal condition and all their inventory is up-to-date.

All Aboard

The Virginia Railway Express initially purchased MicroMain’s Maintenance for tracking consumables. After experiencing how well the software could be configured to meet their needs, they expanded their use of it to include tracking non-consumable items. The company has been able to simplify management of their diverse inventory (including “repair and return” tasks) without changing their fundamental inventory tracking process.

Meanwhile, 20,000 daily commuters continue to rely on VRE as an alternative to the congestion of Northern Virginia’s gridlocked traffic.