In this paper we describe the successful application of a sophisticated Operations Research model and the corresponding solution techniques for scheduling the 6,500+ drivers and conductors of the Dutch railway operator NS Reizigers (Netherlands Railways). In 2001 the drivers and conductors were very dissatisfied with the structure of their duties, which led to nation wide strikes. However, the application of the model described in this paper led to the development of an alternative production model (‘Sharing Sweet & Sour’) that both satisfied the drivers and conductors, and at the same time supported an increment of the punctuality and efficiency of the railway services. The plans produced according to the alternative production model trimmed personnel costs by about $4.8million (or1.2%) per year. Moreover, it was shown that cost reductions of over $7 million per year are also achievable.

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ERIM Report Series Research in Management
Erasmus Research Institute of Management

Fischetti, M., Kroon, L., Timmer, G., Vromans, M., & Abbink, E. (2004). Reinventing Crew Scheduling at Netherlands Railways (No. ERS-2004-046-LIS). ERIM Report Series Research in Management. Retrieved from