Integrated inbound train split and load planning in an intermodal railway terminal

In the last decades the intermodal transportation of containers has become a key component of the entire international trade system, as it allows safe and efficient intercontinental door-to-door movement of freight by combining land and sea transportation services. Intermodal railway terminals are special components of these systems that allow container traffic to be consolidated from different sources and to be transported by train over long distances. This paper addresses a practical problem faced by a major North American railway. On a daily basis, terminal operators must make several decisions such as how inbound trains are split into sequences of railcars, on which tracks these railcars are parked for loading and off-loading operations, and how the railcars are assigned to outbound blocks so as to fulfill the demand of each block. The authors introduce an approach that incorporates all these decisions to obtain improved solutions. In a first step, a mixed integer linear programming (MILP) model is used to create a set of patterns that specify how each inbound train is split and how the railcars are assigned to the blocks. Then, in a second step, another MILP formulation decides which patterns to use and where to park the railcars. Tests on generated benchmark instances based on realistic data from the railway indicate that the authors' approach is able to generate good quality solutions for all instances and can be used by the company to assist decision makers in generating less costly and more efficient plans.


  • English

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  • Accession Number: 01769166
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Feb 10 2021 3:46PM