Maintenance layers for railway infrastructure in Poland

    Piotr Smoczyński Affiliation
    ; Adrian Gill Affiliation
    ; Adam Kadziński Affiliation


The railway network in Poland with over 19000 km is one of the biggest in the European Union (EU). At the same time safety indicators collected by the European Union Agency for Railways (ERA) show that it is one of the least safe in Europe. Consequently, all the actions taken in safety management of Polish Railways are particularly important for the society. In 2015, there was a change in the main infrastructure manager’s rulebook on track maintenance. A new process rule was introduced to replace a large set of long-established action rules. However, supervision reports of the Polish National Safety Authority indicate that the new rule is not used properly. Therefore, the current process of taking maintenance decisions on Polish Railways was described and a novel concept of maintenance layers and Maintenance Board meetings was proposed. The change would allow to choose the order of maintenance activities in a more objective way than it is done nowadays, without the necessity to make any major investments.

First published online 19 January 2021

Keyword : safety management, layered model, maintenance, railway infrastructure, risk management

How to Cite
Smoczyński, P., Gill, A., & Kadziński, A. (2020). Maintenance layers for railway infrastructure in Poland. Transport, 35(6), 605-615.
Published in Issue
Dec 31, 2020
Abstract Views
PDF Downloads
Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


Almklov, P. G.; Rosness, R.; Storkersen, K. 2014. When safety science meets the practitioners: Does safety science contribute to marginalization of practical knowledge?, Safety Science 67: 25–36.

Aven, T. 2010. A holistic framework for conceptualising and describing risk, Journal of Polish Safety and Reliability Association 1(1): 7–14.

Aven, T. 2016. Ignoring scenarios in risk assessments: understanding the issue and improving current practice, Reliability Engineering & System Safety 145: 215–220.

Aven, T. 2015. Risk Analysis. 2nd Edition. Wiley. 216 p.

Baldi, M. M.; Heinicke, F.; Simroth, A.; Tadei, R. 2016. New heuristics for the stochastic tactical railway maintenance problem, Omega 63: 94–102.

Bertsche, B. 2008. Reliability in Automotive and Mechanical Engineering: Determination of Component and System Reliability. Springer. 492 p.

Bhandari, J.; Arzaghi, E.; Abbassi, R.; Garaniya, V.; Khan, F. 2016. Dynamic risk‐based maintenance for offshore processing facility, Process Safety Progress 35(4): 399–406.

Birch, J.; Rivett, R.; Habli, I.; Bradshaw, B.; Botham, J.; Higham, D.; Monkhouse, H.; Palin, R. 2014. A layered model for structuring automotive safety arguments, in 2014 Tenth European Dependable Computing Conference, 13–16 May 2014, Newcastle, UK, 178–181.

Bridges, W. B.; Clark, T. 2010. Key issues with implementing LOPA, Process Safety Progress 29(2): 103–107.

Carretero, J.; Perez, J. M.; Garcia-Carballeira, F.; Calderon, A.; Fernandez, J.; Garcia, J. D.; Lozano, A.; Cardona, L.; Cotaina, N.; Prete, P. 2003. Applying RCM in large scale systems: a case study with railway networks, Reliability Engineering & System Safety 82(3): 257–273.

CCPS. 2001. Layer of Protection Analysis: Simplified Process Risk Assessment. Center for Chemical Process Safety (CCPS), American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE). 292 p.

Cheng, Z.; Qin, L.; Huang, Q.; Yan, S.; Tian, Q. 2014. Recognizing human group action by layered model with multiple cues, Neurocomputing 136: 124–135.

Dekker, S. 2003. Failure to adapt or adaptations that fail: contrasting models on procedures and safety, Applied Ergonomics 34(3): 233–238.

Dickerson, D. E.; Ackerman, P. J. 2016. Risk-based maintenance management of U.S. public school facilities, Procedia Engineering 145: 685–692.

Dowell, A. M. 1998. Layer of protection analysis for determining safety integrity level, ISA Transactions 37(3): 155–165.

EC. 2013. Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) No 402/2013 of 30 April 2013 on the Common Safety Method for Risk Evaluation and Assessment and Repealing Regulation (EC) No 352/2009. European Commission (EC). Available from Internet:

EC. 2004. Directive 2004/49/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 April 2004 on Safety on the Community’s Railways and Amending Council Directive 95/18/EC on the Licensing of Railway Undertakings and Directive 2001/14/EC on the Allocation of Railway Infrastructure Capacity and the Levying of Charges for the Use of Railway Infrastructure and Safety Certification (Railway Safety Directive). European Commission (EC). Available from Internet:

ERA. 2016. Railway Safety Performance in the European Union. European Union Agency for Railways (ERA). 104 p.

Flach, J. 2017. Supporting productive thinking: The semiotic context for cognitive systems engineering (CSE), Applied Ergonomics 59: 612–624.

Fleming, K. N.; Silady, F. A. 2002. A risk informed defense-indepth framework for existing and advanced reactors, Reliability Engineering & System Safety 78(3): 205–225.

Gill, A.; Kadziński, A. 2012. The concept of identification of layers of safety system models through classification of risk reduction measures, Journal of KONES Powertrain and Transport 19(1): 105–115.

Gill, A.; Smoczyński, P. 2018. Layered model for convenient designing of safety system upgrades in railways, Safety Science 110: 168–176.

Grote, G. 2015. Promoting safety by increasing uncertainty – implications for risk management, Safety Science 71: 71–79.

Grote, G. 2012. Safety management in different high-risk domains – all the same?, Safety Science 50(10): 1983–1992.

Guldenmund, F.; Hale, A.; Goossens, L.; Betten, J.; Duijm, N. J. 2006. The development of an audit technique to assess the quality of safety barrier management, Journal of Hazardous Materials 130(3): 234–241.

Hale, A.; Borys, D. 2013. Working to rule, or working safely? Part 1: a state of the art review, Safety Science 55: 207–221.

Hale, A. R.; Swuste, P. 1998. Safety rules: procedural freedom or action constraint?, Safety Science 29(3): 163–177.

Hankin, R. K. S.; Britter, R. E. 1999. TWODEE: the health and safety laboratory’s shallow layer model for heavy gas dispersion – part 3: experimental validation (Thorney Island), Journal of Hazardous Materials 66(3): 239–261.

Hannaman, G. W.; Spurgin, A. J. 1984. Systematic Human Action Reliability Procedure (SHARP). Report No EPRI-NP-3583. NUS Corporation, San Diego, CA, US. 141 p.

Hokstad, P.; Vatn, J. 2008. Ethical dilemmas in traffic safety work, Safety Science 46(10): 1435–1449.

Jeffcott, S.; Pidgeon, N.; Weyman, A.; Walls, J. 2006. Risk, trust, and safety culture in U.K. train operating companies, Risk Analysis 26(5): 1105–1121.

Kadziński, A. 2013. Studium wybranych aspektów niezawodności systemów oraz obiektów pojazdów szynowych. Wydawnictwo Politechniki Poznańskiej. 179 s. (in Polish).

Khan, F. I.; Haddara, M. R. 2004. Risk-based maintenance of ethylene oxide production facilities, Journal of Hazardous Materials 108(3): 147–159.

Khan, F.; Rathnayaka, S.; Ahmed, S. 2015. Methods and models in process safety and risk management: Past, present and future, Process Safety and Environmental Protection 98: 116–147.

Krishnasamy, L.; Khan, F.; Haddara, M. 2005. Development of a risk-based maintenance (RBM) strategy for a power-generating plant, Journal of Loss Prevention in the Process Industries 18(2): 69–81.

Krystek, R. (Ed.). 2009. Zintegrowany system bezpieczeństwa transportu. Tom I. Diagnoza bezpieczeństwa transportu w Polsce. Wydawnictwa Komunikacji i Łączności. 480 s. (in Polish).

Liden, T. 2015. Railway infrastructure maintenance – a survey of planning problems and conducted research, Transportation Research Procedia 10: 574–583.

MIB. 2016. Raport roczny za rok 2015: z działalności państwowej komisji badania wypadków kolejowych. Ministerstwo infrastruktury i budownictwa (MIB), Warszawa, Polska. 66 s. (in Polish).

Ni, W.; Wu, J.; Huang, C.; Savoie, M. 2013. Analytical models of flow availability in two-layer networks with dedicated path protection, Optical Switching and Networking 10(1): 62–76.

Niu, G.; Yang, B.-S.; Pecht, M. 2010. Development of an optimized condition-based maintenance system by data fusion and reliability-centered maintenance, Reliability Engineering & System Safety 95(7): 786–796.

Peng, F.; Ouyang, Y.; Somani, K. 2013. Optimal routing and scheduling of periodic inspections in large-scale railroad networks, Journal of Rail Transport Planning & Management 3(4): 163–171.

Peters, R. W. 2015. Understanding risk-based maintenance by using risked-based planning with risk-based inspections, in Reliable Maintenance Planning, Estimating, and Scheduling, 223–240.

PKP Polskie Linie Kolejowe S.A. 2005. Instrukcja diagnostyki nawierzchni kolejowej Id-8. Warszawa, Polska. 39 s. (in Polish). Available from Internet:

PKP Polskie Linie Kolejowe S.A. 2015. Raport roczny 2015, Warszawa, Polska. 112 s. (in Polish). Available from Internet:

Podofillini, L.; Zio, E.; Vatn, J. 2006. Risk-informed optimization of railway tracks inspection and maintenance procedures, Reliability Engineering & System Safety 91(1): 20–35.

Praino, G.; Sharit, J. 2016. Written work procedures: Identifying and understanding their risks and a proposed framework for modeling procedure risk, Safety Science 82: 382–392.

Rasmussen, J. 1986. Information Processing and Human-Machine Interaction: An Approach to Cognitive Engineering. Elsevier Science Ltd. 215 p.

Ratnam, K.; Gurusamy, M.; Zhou, L. 2005. Differentiated QoS routing of restorable sub-lambda connections in IP-over-WDM networks using a multi-layer protection approach, in 2nd International Conference on Broadband Networks, 2005, 7 October 2005, Boston, MA, US, 127–136.

Rausand, M.; Vatn, J. 2008. Reliability centred maintenance, in K. A. H. Kobbacy, D. N. P. Murthy (Eds.). Complex System Maintenance Handbook, 79–108.

Shah, S.; Fischer, U.; Hungerbuhler, K. 2003. A hierarchical approach for the evaluation of chemical process aspects from the perspective of inherent safety, Process Safety and Environmental Protection 81(6): 430–443.

Sinha, Y.; Steel, J. A. 2015. A progressive study into offshore wind farm maintenance optimisation using risk based failure analysis, Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 42: 735–742.

Smoczyński, P. 2018. Zarządzanie ryzykiem zagrożeń generowanych podczas eksploatacji infrastruktury kolejowej. Rozprawa doktorska. Politechnika Poznańska, Polska. 101 s. (in Polish). Available from Internet:

Smoczyński, P.; Kadziński, A. 2016. Introduction to the risk management in the maintenance of railway tracks, Journal of Mechanical and Transport Engineering 68(4): 65–80.

Smoczyński, P.; Kadziński, A.; Gill, A.; Kobaszyńska-Twardowska, A. 2019. Calibration of the risk model for hazards related to the technical condition of the railway infrastructure, Advances in Intelligent Systems and Computing 854: 274–283.

Summers, A. E. 2003. Introduction to layers of protection analysis, Journal of Hazardous Materials 104(1–3): 163–168.

Tong, S. J.; Wu, Z. Z.; Wang, R. J.; Duo, Y. Q. 2016. Study on risk assessment of chemical process based on an advanced layers of protection analysis method, Korean Journal of Chemical Engineering 33(8): 2291–2297.

Vatn, J. 2008. Maintenance in the rail industry, in K. A. H. Kobbacy, D. N. P. Murthy (Eds.). Complex System Maintenance Handbook, 509–531.

Vatn, J.; Aven, T. 2010. An approach to maintenance optimization where safety issues are important, Reliability Engineering & System Safety 95(1): 58–63.

Wei, C.; Rogers, W. J.; Mannan, M. S. 2008. Layer of protection analysis for reactive chemical risk assessment, Journal of Hazardous Materials 159(1): 19–24.

Woodcock, K. 2014. Model of safety inspection, Safety Science 62: 145–156.