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Timetable 2007: Why and How?. Dennis Huisman. Econometric Institute & ECOPT, Erasmus Univ. Rotterdam Dept. of Logistics, NS. www.ecopt.nl. Thursday January 18, 2007. Schedule. Introduction on the Dutch railway system Why a new timetable? How is the 2007 timetable constructed?

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timetable 2007 why and how

Timetable 2007:Why and How?

Dennis Huisman

Econometric Institute & ECOPT, Erasmus Univ. RotterdamDept. of Logistics, NS


Thursday January 18, 2007

  • Introduction on the Dutch railway system
  • Why a new timetable?
  • How is the 2007 timetable constructed?
    • Different steps
    • OR models
    • Process
  • Future developments
some figures
Some figures

1.100.000 passenger trips per workday passenger kilometers per year

  • passenger trains per workday

300 cargo trains per workday

2800 kilometers of tracks

377 stations

dutch railway system



Dutch railway system


  • Dense railway system
  • Cyclic timetable (1 hr)
  • Several train types
  • High utilization of infra
  • Many connections
timetable 2007 why
Timetable 2007: Why?
  • No major changes since “Spoorslag ’70” but much more passengers
  • Improving robustness of the system
  • New commercial product with high speed trains, Intercity services and sprinters (no semi-fast trains anymore)
  • Better connections with Belgium and Germany
  • New infrastructure would be available in 2007 (HSL, Betuweroute, quadrupling Amsterdam-Utrecht)
how to construct a new timetable
How to construct a new timetable?

Three steps:

  • Make a line plan, i.e. determine the direct connections and the frequencies, etc.
  • Construct the timetable for one hour, i.e. decide on the exact arrival and departure times, connections, etc.
  • Construct the timetable for a whole week

Strong dependency between the first two steps, and between these steps and rolling stock planning

line planning 1
Line planning (1)
  • Input: O-D matrix
  • Output: routes with their frequency & some transfers (e.g. 2/hr IC Den Helder – Amsterdam – Utrecht - Nijmegen, 2/hr IC Schagen/Alkmaar – Amsterdam – Utrecht – Eindhoven - Maastricht/Heerlen, 2/hr IC Schiphol – Utrecht - Eindhoven).
  • Possible criteria:
    • As much direct connections as possible
    • Robustness
    • Short travel times
line planning 2
Line planning (2)
  • Not many OR models are used in line planning
  • Decisions mainly made on properties of the infrastructure, market specifications and political wishes
  • Most discussions in public/media are about the line plan
  • Example: Voorburg, Zoetermeer, Gouda and Woerden all like to have an Intercity station on the route Utrecht – The Hague, on the other hand travel times from North & East to the Hague should be short.
timetabling 1
Timetabling (1)
  • Determine for each train on all stations the exact arrival and departure times such that
    • headway constraints are satisfied,
    • transfers are as much as possible satisfied,
    • travel times (including buffers) have to be taken into account,
    • trains on the same line are equally distributed,
    • the timetable is cyclic.

Basic hour pattern

Amersfoort – Lunteren - Ede-Wageningen

timetabling 2
Timetabling (2)
  • The new timetable is constructed with DONS (= Designer Of Network Schedules)
  • DONS consists of a database, GUI and two solvers: CADANS and STATIONS
  • CADANS creates the ‘basis hour pattern’ and is developed by CWI (Schrijver & Steenbeek, 1994)
  • STATIONS creates the ‘basis platform assignment’ and is developed by Zwaneveld et al. (1996)
  • Both solvers are based on OR models
cadans 1
  • The OR model is based on the Periodic Event Scheduling Problem (PESP)
  • Examples of constraints

with T: cycle time

Q(e1,e2): binary decision variable indicating whether event e1 is carried out before event e2 or not

cadans 2

with T: cycle time

Q(e3,e4): binary decision variable indicating whether event e3 is carried out before event e4 or not

  • PESP is solved with preprocessing techniques, constraint propagation and local optimization techniques
cadans 3
  • CADANS provides either feasible solution or gives some indication why it is infeasible
  • In the latter case, planner should change the specifications and try again
reliability of timetables
Reliability of timetables
  • Measured by punctuality of the railway system
  • Simulation is used to determine the expected punctuality of a ‘basic hour pattern’
  • This is done by introducing disturbances and measuring their effect on the overall punctuality
  • The new timetable is simulated with SIMONE (= SImulation MOdel of NEtworks) developed by ProRail and NS
timetable 2007 process 1
Timetable 2007: process (1)
  • Focus: timetable 2009
  • Timetable 2007 is derived from timetable 2009, but has the line plan of 2006 on some parts of the network (e.g. between Amsterdam and Vlissingen)
  • Joint work between NS, ProRail and Raillion
  • Start 2003
timetable 2007 process 2
Timetable 2007: process (2)
  • 10 completely different line plans have been considered (including very extreme ones)
  • For all of them DONS generated a ‘basis hour pattern’
  • SIMONE runs were done to measure the punctuality of the different timetables
  • Consequences on travel times/transfers/frequencies for all passengers in the O-D matrix have been determined
  • General statistics on expected number of passengers, costs and revenues have been calculated as well
timetable 2007 process 3
Timetable 2007: process (3)
  • Board choose line plan in March 2005 (mix of 2 of the initial line plans)
  • Go/no go decision in December 2005
  • Afterwards 1-hour timetable is copied to 7*24 hours and rolling stock and crew schedules are constructed
  • In the mean time: several small adjustments (e.g. shorter travel times to the North) and one large adjustment (not opening four tracks Amsterdam-Utrecht)
future developments
Future developments

Running time supplements

  • Timetable 1970-2006: 7% running time supplement
  • Timetable 2007: 5% running time supplement
  • Vromans et al. (2005) developed an optimization model to distribute the supplements such that the average delays can be minimized
  • A practical experiment on the Zaanlijn with a modified timetable showed that the punctuality can be improved by a few percent points
  • Timetable 2009: practice ??