University of Twente Student Theses


Improving the scheduling of railway maintenance projects by considering passenger hindrance and event requests of passenger operators

Weert, Y.R. de (2022) Improving the scheduling of railway maintenance projects by considering passenger hindrance and event requests of passenger operators.

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Abstract:In future scenarios, it is expected that passenger activities on railway networks will double by 2050. To handle the passenger demand in these scenarios, railway capacity planning needs to be adapted. One fundamental aspect of the railway capacity planning is the scheduling of large maintenance projects. These projects cause a significant amount of hindrance as track segments are unavailable for train traffic for some consecutive days. To minimize the passenger hindrance induced by these projects, the main principle of the rail-infra manager ProRail is to avoid that these projects are scheduled during events. Therefore passenger operators can submit event request, i.e. a time period and location in which no project should be scheduled. Currently these event requests are considered as hard constraints and due to the number of event requests, the flexibility on maintenance scheduling decreases. Not being able to schedule the maintenance projects outside of the event request areas results in a conflict between ProRail and the passenger operator. This is solved by iterative negotiations, although quantitative methods may be able to provide better solutions or give more insight into the value of these conflicts. In this thesis, the aforementioned problem is addressed in a quantitative manner. The focus is on scheduling maintenance projects to minimize passenger hindrance by considering these event requests. This is done by introducing a Mixed Integer Linear Program (MILP) that schedules maintenance projects to minimize the passenger hindrance. The MILP also considers capacity constraints based on the capacity of alternative services that can be provided within event request areas. Furthermore, methods are considered that might reduce the computational costs. A computational study shows that, compared to a naive branch-and-bound algorithm, the inclusion of a heuristic shows the best improvement on computational costs. Cutting planes and valid inequalities make the search more efficient, but do not reduce computational times. A case study on the Dutch railway network tested a range of capacities for alternative services. The resulting schedules do not create any conflicts if a capacity equal or below 1000 passengers per hour is considered and one or two conflicts with events requests for higher capacity thresholds. The resulting schedules show minor improvements when the capacity is over 1000 and also shows an increase in the flexibility to schedule projects. This allows decision makers to choose from a set of optimal schedules with different characteristics on the passenger hindrance.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:ET: Engineering Technology
Programme:Civil Engineering and Management MSc (60026)
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