Maintenance is a word used day in day out by every Railwayman. What does this word mean? And the manner in which it is understood by each of us. Maintenance is not taught in any Engineering or degree courses, the emphasis there is on how the thing works and its mathematical modelling. It is often spoken that there is nothing in maintenance to teach in engineering or degree colleges because it is a subject of learning from experience and its importance cannot be appreciated unless experienced. Maintenance in colleges is learnt only to the extent of comparison of designs whether maintenance is less or more and that too by the judgement of number of wearing parts. Railwayman spends almost 70% of his career in the field of maintenance, and therefore, an important subject to study Maintenance as subject of Engineering and structure it so that learning process keeps on feeding into the process of development of designs and manufacturing. Maintenance is not a standalone subject but a part of the model of the development process. Maintenance is an interface in the overall feedback mechanism in the process to start of any new development . Maintenance is a subject of learning, learning and learning but how so that it not only corrects the output but provide corrective feedback.
In competitive business, it is the marketing, drop in top line, complaints, after sale services etc. which drives innovation and keeping the management alert. But it is not so with monopolistic business such as Indian Railways. It is the maintenance which plays the equivalent role. It, therefore, becomes very important for every maintenance man to understand his role and functioning in right perspective.
The flow diagram below places the role of maintenance in overall engineering activity. Color intensity demonstrates the present role in delivering Railway services. It is the sincere responsibility of all those connected with the engineering functioning to reduce the maintenance by improving design and manufacturing, which can only drive top line of the Railways.
An effort has been made to cover all aspects of maintenance to provide a platform for sharing experiences and learning of readers to help new generation.