From time to time, large disruptions cause heavily utilized railway networks to get in a state of (near) out-of-control, in which hardly any trains are able to run as the result of a lack of accurate and up-to-date information available to dispatchers. In this paper, we develop and test disruption management strategies for dealing with these situations. First, we propose an algorithm that finds an alternative line plan that can be operated in the affected part of the railway network. As the line plan should be feasible with respect to infrastructural and resource restrictions, we integrate these aspects in the algorithm in a Benders'-like fashion. Second, to operate the railway system within the disrupted region, we propose several local train dispatching strategies requiring varying degrees of exibility and coordination. Computational experiments based on disruptions in the Dutch railway network indicate that the algorithm performs well, finding workable and passenger oriented line plans within a couple of minutes. Moreover, we also demonstrate in a simulation study that the produced line plans can be operated smoothly without depending on central coordination.

railways, disruption management, line planning, dispatching
This research was funded by NWO, the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research, as part of the research programme Complexity in Transport & Logistics (project number 439.16.111)
Econometric Institute Research Papers
Erasmus School of Economics

van Lieshout, R.N, Bouman, P.C, & Huisman, D. (2018). Determining and Evaluating Alternative Line Plans in (Near) Out-of-Control Situations (No. EI2018-20). Econometric Institute Research Papers. Retrieved from