Dynamic railway timetable rescheduling for multiple connected disruptions

More Info


Unexpected disruptions occur in the railways on a daily basis, which are typically handled manually by experienced traffic controllers with the support of predefined contingency plans. When several disruptions occur simultaneously, it is rather hard for traffic controllers to make rescheduling decisions, because (1) the predefined contingency plans corresponding to these disruptions may conflict with each other and (2) no predefined contingency plan considering the combined effects of multiple disruptions is available. This paper proposes a Mixed Integer Linear Programming (MILP) model to reschedule the timetable in case of multiple disruptions that occur at different geographic locations but have overlapping periods and are pairwise connected by at least one train line. The dispatching measures of retiming, reordering, cancelling, adding stops and flexible short-turning are formulated in the MILP model that also considers the rolling stock circulations at terminal stations and platform capacity. We develop two approaches for rescheduling the timetable in a dynamic environment: the sequential approach and the combined approach. In the sequential approach, a single-disruption rescheduling model is applied to handle each new disruption with the last solution as reference. In the combined approach, the multiple-disruption rescheduling model is applied every time an extra disruption occurs by considering all ongoing disruptions. A rolling-horizon solution method to the multiple-disruption model has been developed to handle long multiple connected disruptions in a more efficient way. The sequential and combined approaches have been tested on real-life instances on a subnetwork of the Dutch railways with 38 stations and 10 train lines operating half-hourly in each direction. In a few cases, the sequential approach did not find feasible solutions, while the combined approach obtained the solutions for all considered cases. Besides, the combined approach was able to find solutions with less cancelled train services and/or train delays than the sequential approach. For long disruptions, the proposed rolling-horizon method was able to generate high-quality rescheduling solutions in an acceptable time.