Scheduling Rail Track Maintenance to Minimise Overall Delays

Higgins, Andrew, Ferreira, Luis, & Lake, Maree (1999) Scheduling Rail Track Maintenance to Minimise Overall Delays. In Ceder, Avishai (Ed.) Transportation and Traffic Theory. Elsevier, Amsterdam ; Oxford :, pp. 779-796.

[img] PDF (386kB)
Administrators only


In Australian freight operations, maintenance costs comprise between 25 -35 percent of total train operating costs. Therefore, it is important that the track maintenance planning function is undertaken in an effective and efficient manner. This paper focuses on the development of a model designed to help resolve the conflicts between train operations and the scheduling of maintenance projects. The model involves scheduling maintenance projects to minimise disruptions to train services and reduce maintenance costs. The main applicability of such a model is as a decision support tool for track maintenance planners and train planners.

The track maintenance scheduling problem, which involves the allocation of maintenance projects to time windows and crews to projects, is formulated as an integer programming model. The objective is to minimise a weighted combination of expected interference delays and prioritised finishing time. Minimising the first component will ensure a minimum interference between track maintenance projects and scheduled trains when either are delayed. The heuristic solution is obtained in two stages. Firstly, an initial solution is generated, scheduling each of the projects in turn, where the latter are ordered in terms of the relative importance of finishing time. Each project is selected and allocated to an available permissible work crew. If there are no available permissible work crews when the project is chosen, the earliest finishing crew will be selected. The second stage uses the tabu search heuristic.

The model presented here was applied to an 89 km track corridor on the eastern coast of Australia. The schedule constructed using tabu search has a 7 percent reduction in objective function value as compared to the schedule constructed manually. The model was also used to demonstrate the effects of project schedule and maintenance resource changes. A four day planning horizon was used for which the model was used to test proposed changes. Increasing the time window by moving less important trains was shown to reduce potential delays significantly.

Impact and interest:

3 citations in Web of Science®
Search Google Scholar™

Citation counts are sourced monthly from Scopus and Web of Science® citation databases.

These databases contain citations from different subsets of available publications and different time periods and thus the citation count from each is usually different. Some works are not in either database and no count is displayed. Scopus includes citations from articles published in 1996 onwards, and Web of Science® generally from 1980 onwards.

Citations counts from the Google Scholar™ indexing service can be viewed at the linked Google Scholar™ search.

ID Code: 2417
Item Type: Book Chapter
Additional Information: For more information about this book please refer to the publisher's website (see link) or contact the author . Author contact details :
Additional URLs:
Keywords: train operations, track maintenance scheduling, minimise delays, finishing time, integer programming model, tabu search heuristic
ISBN: 9780080434483
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > ENGINEERING (090000) > CIVIL ENGINEERING (090500) > Transport Engineering (090507)
Divisions: Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Built Environment and Engineering
Copyright Owner: Copyright 1999 Elsevier
Deposited On: 08 Nov 2005 00:00
Last Modified: 09 Jun 2010 12:28

Export: EndNote | Dublin Core | BibTeX

Repository Staff Only: item control page