A train manufactured by a Polish company suddenly broke down during maintenance. The experts were helpless – the train was fine, it just wouldn’t run. In a desperate last gasp, the Dragon Sector team was called in to help, and its members found wonders the train engineers had never dreamed of.

In this story, we will take you on an unusual journey. A journey full of unexpected discoveries and events, a journey under pressure of time and money, as well as unusual technologies. A journey in which the train plays the most important role – although unfortunately it doesn’t move, even though it should. Fasten your seatbelts – or at least sit comfortably, because there are sharp turns ahead.

Winning the tender, losing the service

The story probably begins a little earlier, but we will enter the scene in spring 2022, when the maintenance for the first of eleven Impuls 45WE trains (made by Polish company Newag) operated by the Lower Silesian Railways ends. The maintenance is carried out by an independent train maintenance company called Serwis Pojazdów Szynowych, hereafter referred to as SPS, SPS won the tender to carry out the mandatory maintenance of the trains after a distance of 1,000,000 kilometres. The train manufacturer, Newag, also competed in the tender to carry out the maintenance, but the manufacturer’s bid was about 750k USD higher and the tender was eventually won by SPS, which offered to carry out the maintenance of 11 trains for around 5.5 mln USD.

Maintenance a train is a complicated affair – it has to be taken apart, the parts sent to the various manufacturers, checked, sent back, the train put back together again and tested. The SPS carries out the maintenance procedures according to the relevant maintenance manual (some 20,000 pages) provided by the manufacturer, but the train does not start after being put together. The computer says everything is fine, the train is ready to run – but it does not run. The inverters are not supplying voltage to the motors and no one has any idea why this is happening. Maintenance technicians search, check, verify, consult the manuals – they find no answer.

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