Modelling and solving train scheduling problems under capacity constraints
Liu, ShiQiang (2008) Modelling and solving train scheduling problems under capacity constraints. PhD thesis, Queensland University of Technology.

ShiQiang Liu Thesis
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ShiQiang Liu Citation
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Abstract
Many large coal mining operations in Australia rely heavily on the rail network to transport coal from mines to coal terminals at ports for shipment. Over the last few years, due to the fast growing demand, the coal rail network is becoming one of the worst industrial bottlenecks in Australia. As a result, this provides great incentives for pursuing better optimisation and control strategies for the operation of the whole rail transportation system under network and terminal capacity constraints. This PhD research aims to achieve a significant efficiency improvement in a coal rail network on the basis of the development of standard modelling approaches and generic solution techniques. Generally, the train scheduling problem can be modelled as a Blocking Parallel Machine JobShop Scheduling (BPMJSS) problem. In a BPMJSS model for train scheduling, trains and sections respectively are synonymous with jobs and machines and an operation is regarded as the movement/traversal of a train across a section. To begin, an improved shifting bottleneck procedure algorithm combined with metaheuristics has been developed to efficiently solve the ParallelMachine Job Shop Scheduling (PMJSS) problems without the blocking conditions. Due to the lack of buffer space, the reallife train scheduling should consider blocking or holdwhilewait constraints, which means that a track section cannot release and must hold a train until the next section on the routing becomes available. As a consequence, the problem has been considered as BPMJSS with the blocking conditions. To develop efficient solution techniques for BPMJSS, extensive studies on the nonclassical scheduling problems regarding the various buffer conditions (i.e. blocking, nowait, limitedbuffer, unlimitedbuffer and combinedbuffer) have been done. In this procedure, an alternative graph as an extension of the classical disjunctive graph is developed and specially designed for the nonclassical scheduling problems such as the blocking flowshop scheduling (BFSS), nowait flowshop scheduling (NWFSS), and blocking jobshop scheduling (BJSS) problems. By exploring the blocking characteristics based on the alternative graph, a new algorithm called the topologicalsequence algorithm is developed for solving the nonclassical scheduling problems. To indicate the preeminence of the proposed algorithm, we compare it with two known algorithms (i.e. Recursive Procedure and Directed Graph) in the literature. Moreover, we define a new type of nonclassical scheduling problem, called combinedbuffer flowshop scheduling (CBFSS), which covers four extreme cases: the classical FSS (FSS) with infinite buffer, the blocking FSS (BFSS) with no buffer, the nowait FSS (NWFSS) and the limitedbuffer FSS (LBFSS). After exploring the structural properties of CBFSS, we propose an innovative constructive algorithm named the LK algorithm to construct the feasible CBFSS schedule. Detailed numerical illustrations for the various cases are presented and analysed. By adjusting only the attributes in the data input, the proposed LK algorithm is generic and enables the construction of the feasible schedules for many types of nonclassical scheduling problems with different buffer constraints. Inspired by the shifting bottleneck procedure algorithm for PMJSS and characteristic analysis based on the alternative graph for nonclassical scheduling problems, a new constructive algorithm called the Feasibility Satisfaction Procedure (FSP) is proposed to obtain the feasible BPMJSS solution. A realworld train scheduling case is used for illustrating and comparing the PMJSS and BPMJSS models. Some reallife applications including considering the train length, upgrading the track sections, accelerating a tardy train and changing the bottleneck sections are discussed. Furthermore, the BPMJSS model is generalised to be a NoWait Blocking Parallel Machine JobShop Scheduling (NWBPMJSS) problem for scheduling the trains with priorities, in which prioritised trains such as express passenger trains are considered simultaneously with nonprioritised trains such as freight trains. In this case, nowait conditions, which are more restrictive constraints than blocking constraints, arise when considering the prioritised trains that should traverse continuously without any interruption or any unplanned pauses because of the high cost of waiting during travel. In comparison, nonprioritised trains are allowed to enter the next section immediately if possible or to remain in a section until the next section on the routing becomes available. Based on the FSP algorithm, a more generic algorithm called the SE algorithm is developed to solve a class of train scheduling problems in terms of different conditions in train scheduling environments. To construct the feasible train schedule, the proposed SE algorithm consists of many individual modules including the feasibilitysatisfaction procedure, timedetermination procedure, tuneup procedure and conflictresolve procedure algorithms. To find a good train schedule, a twostage hybrid heuristic algorithm called the SEBIH algorithm is developed by combining the constructive heuristic (i.e. the SE algorithm) and the localsearch heuristic (i.e. the BestInsertion Heuristic algorithm). To optimise the train schedule, a threestage algorithm called the SEBIHTS algorithm is developed by combining the tabu search (TS) metaheuristic with the SEBIH algorithm. Finally, a case study is performed for a complex realworld coal rail network under network and terminal capacity constraints. The computational results validate that the proposed methodology would be very promising because it can be applied as a fundamental tool for modelling and solving many realworld scheduling problems.
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ID Code:  37181 

Item Type:  QUT Thesis (PhD) 
Supervisor:  Kozan, Erhan & Anh, Vo 
Keywords:  Railroads Train dispatching, Railroads Management, Scheduling Mathematical models, thesis, doctoral 
Divisions:  Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Science and Technology Past > Schools > Mathematical Sciences 
Institution:  Queensland University of Technology 
Deposited On:  22 Sep 2010 13:07 
Last Modified:  16 Feb 2012 01:17 
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