The Freight Train Routing Problem for Congested Railway Networks with Mixed Traffic

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  • We consider the following freight train routing problem (FTRP). Given is a transportation network with fixed routes for passenger trains and a set of freight trains (requests), each defined by an origin and destination station pair. The objective is to calculate a feasible route for each freight train such that the sum of all expected delays and all running times is minimal. Previous research concentrated on microscopic train routings for junctions or inside major stations. Only recently approaches were developed to tackle larger corridors or even networks. We investigate the routing problem from a strategic perspective, calculating the routes in a macroscopic transportation network of Deutsche Bahn AG. In this context, macroscopic refers to an aggregation of complex and large real-world structures into fewer network elements. Moreover, the departure and arrival times of freight trains are approximated. The problem has a strategic character since it asks only for a coarse routing through the network without the precise timings. We provide a mixed-integer nonlinear programming (MINLP) formulation for the FTRP, which is a multicommodity flow model on a time-expanded graph with additional routing constraints. The model’s nonlinearities originate from an algebraic approximation of the delays of the trains on the arcs of the network by capacity restraint functions. The MINLP is reduced to a mixed-integer linear model (MILP) by piecewise linear approximation. The latter is solved by a state-of-the art MILP solver for various real-world test instances.

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Author:Ralf Borndörfer, Armin Fügenschuh, Torsten Klug, Thilo Schang, Thomas Schlechte, Hanno Schülldorf
Document Type:Article
Parent Title (English):Transportation Science
Year of first publication:2016
Preprint:urn:nbn:de:0297-zib-18991
DOI:http://dx.doi.org/10.1287/trsc.2015.0656

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