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INFORMS 2012 Shared Corridor Railway Maintenance Scheduling. Brennan M. Caughron Graduate Research Assistant Rail Transportation and Engineering Center ( RailTEC ) University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Outline. FRA shared corridor research needs study Introduction and background

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informs 2012 shared corridor railway maintenance scheduling

INFORMS 2012Shared Corridor Railway Maintenance Scheduling

Brennan M. Caughron

Graduate Research Assistant

Rail Transportation and Engineering Center (RailTEC)

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

  • FRA shared corridor research needs study
  • Introduction and background
  • Maintenance planning
    • Strategic planning
    • Tactical scheduling
    • Integrated train and maintenance scheduling
  • SRC research needs


  • Project Description:
  • New high speed rail (HSR) developments in the U.S. need to address technical challenges of shared rail corridors in the North America rail environment
  • The objectives of this project are to identify shared rail corridor technical challenges, existing and on-going research, knowledge gaps and research needs
  • Impact on the Railroad Industry:
  • Reducing the operational and program deployment risks associated with shared rail corridors
  • Identification of critical areas to address in planning new HSR systems
  • Expediting the process of developing efficient and safe HSR shared corridors with better prioritization in planning

Research Sponsor:



Research and Demonstration Projects Supporting the Development of High Speed and Intercity Passenger Rail Service

shared use corridor operating configurations
Shared-Use Corridor Operating Configurations

Freight or conventional passenger rail service

High-speed rail


Adjacent trackcenters >25’ ≤ 200’

Shared track & shared ROW

Shared track:tracks shared between passenger and freight or other service.

Shared right of way (ROW):dedicated high-speed passenger tracks separated from freight or other service tracks up to 25’

Shared corridor:dedicated high-speed passenger tracks separated from freight or other service tracks by 25-200’

Adjacent trackcenters ≤ 25’

Shared corridor

shared corridor categories
Shared Corridor Categories
  • Safety technology and operating practices
  • Rail infrastructure and equipment
  • Economic and institutional issues
  • Planning and operations
    • Infrastructure upgrade prioritization
    • Rail capacity planning
    • Train scheduling patterns
    • Passenger train schedule reliability
    • Maintenance-of-way scheduling
railway periodic inspection
Railway Periodic Inspection
  • Inspection activities occur on regular intervals depending on quality (class) of track
  • Inspectionevents
    • Visual inspection monthly to 1-3 times per week (speed, track function, traffic)
    • Rail flaw detection 2 yearly or before 40MGT (with passenger traffic)
    • Gauge restraint measurement system annually for classes 8 and 9
    • Automated track geometry 1-2 yearly up to twice every 120 days
    • Joint bar flaw detection
    • Ground penetrating radar
    • Machine vision systems
  • Personnel and equipment must usually occupy track to perform inspection (some exceptions)
railway periodic maintenance
Railway Periodic Maintenance
  • Track is taken out of service for maintenance to occur
  • Operation on adjacent tracks can be impacted by maintenance activities
  • Activities occur on intervals based on cumulative traffic or time

Categories of maintenance work

  • Rail relay
  • Curve gauging
  • Tie replacement
  • Ballast cleaning
    • Shoulder ballast cleaner
    • Undercutting
  • Surfacing
    • System high-speed
    • Spot surfacing
  • Track renewal
  • Bridge maintenance
modeling maintenance scheduling
Modeling Maintenance Scheduling
  • Numerous individuals have applied optimization techniques to problems related to planning and scheduling railway maintenance
  • Model categories
    • Strategic planning
    • Tactical scheduling
      • Maintenance scheduling within existing schedule
      • Integrated train and maintenance scheduling
strategic maintenance planning
Strategic Maintenance Planning
  • Long term planning horizon (year)
  • Large time increment (week)
  • Schedule work crews to specific projects on the network
  • Generally preventative (rail, ties, ballast) vs. reactive maintenance (fixing slow orders)
  • Considers various network constraints
    • Number and type of work crews
    • Work crew location constraints
    • Multiple projects on each network segment
      • Benefits of maintenance blitz strategies
      • Longer term disruption of rail traffic
    • Precedence relationship between activities
    • Weather or seasonal constraints
strategic maintenance planning1
Strategic Maintenance Planning

























strategic planning previous work
Strategic Planning - Previous Work
  • Grimes (1995)
    • Genetic algorithm
    • Track surfacing planning
    • Track quality, degradation rate, various costs
  • Budai et al. (2006)
    • Preventative maintenance scheduling problem (PMSP)
    • Minimize total track possession cost
    • Considers one network segment
  • Gorman et al. (2010)
    • Maintenance production gang scheduling
    • Minimize labor, equipment, repositioning/travel costs
    • Labor agreements, precedence relationships, early start/late finish constraints
strategic planning previous work1
Strategic Planning - Previous Work
  • Pouryousef et al. (2010)
    • Refined PMSP from Budai
    • Simultaneous planning of several segments
    • Minimize track possession cost, maintenance cost, and penalty for performing work too early
  • Peng et al. (2011)
    • Minimize travel costs of production gangs (travel cost more variable than relative fixed cost of performing work)
    • Weather, network disruption, activity precedence constraints included
    • Methodology integrated into maintenance planning process of a class 1 railroad
tactical maintenance scheduling
Tactical Maintenance Scheduling
  • Short term planning horizon (weeks or days)
  • Small time increment (hours)
  • Planning for one or several lines vs. network
  • Scheduling maintenance activities into existing traffic pattern
    • Train schedule typically adopted before maintenance schedule
    • Not able to reschedule some types of rail traffic
      • Passenger (+- minutes)
      • Intermodal (+- hours)
      • Manifest (+- hours)
    • Delay costs for different traffic types
    • Productivity losses for maintenance crews with interrupted or split work windows
    • Limited number of crews
shared row with high speed rail
Shared ROW with High Speed Rail






Existing RR

High speed trains


previous work
Previous Work

Higgins (1998)

  • Schedule maintenance activities and crews in an existing rail traffic pattern
  • Decision support tool for operation and maintenance managers
  • Activities considered
    • Inspection
    • Cross ties
    • Rail (replacement and grinding)
    • Ballast cleaning
    • Track surfacing
  • Case study line (302 km, 45 sidings)
    • Manually constructed maintenance schedule
      • 7.4% increase in activity finishing time
      • 18% increase in train and maintenance delay
integrated train and maintenance scheduling
Integrated Train and Maintenance Scheduling
  • Maintenance activities and train schedules planned simultaneously
  • Objective function: minimize total cost of train delay and maintenance activities
  • North American operating environment
    • Unscheduled trains (bulk commodities)
    • Scheduled trains (passenger, intermodal, manifest)
    • Long trains
    • Long shipment distances (2,000+ miles)
  • European operating environment
    • Scheduled trains (freight and passenger)
    • Meet and pass planning
    • Temporal separation of traffic types
  • Integrated train and maintenance scheduling may have limited application in the N. American operating environment
previous work1
Previous Work

Albrecht et al. (2010)

  • Problem space search (PSS) meta-heuristic
  • Simultaneous scheduling of maintenance activities and rail traffic
  • Minimize total delay to rail traffic and maintenance crews
  • Considered additional metric – delay experienced by worst performing train (better consideration of distribution of delays)
  • Applied to case study line
    • Total delay reduced 17% vs. manual schedule
    • Maximum delay reduced 34%
shared corridor research needs
Shared Corridor Research Needs
  • Strategic planning
    • Passenger traffic delay constraints related to network and seasonal conditions
  • Tactical scheduling
    • Delay cost for different train types
    • Cost of lost maintenance productivity in interrupted or split windows
    • Threshold for integrated rail traffic and maintenance planning
    • Threshold for temporal separation (maintenance at night, rail traffic during the day)
    • Tactical scheduling with stochastic train and maintenance events (longer planning horizon, more uncertainty)


Brennan M. Caughron