Several advanced dispatching technologies are under investigation by North American railroads. These technologies provide a number of important features, including CRT communications with locomotives, real-time train positioning, and computer assisted dispatching algorithms. Other researchers have shown how successful deployment of such systems should improve line-haul reliability, reduce en route delays, and provide better estimates of train arrival times (ETAs). This paper examines the effects of these line-haul improvements on terminal performance. Interviews with officials at six terminals identifies the types of improvements that can be expected, while analysis of operating data quantifies the extent of such improvements. Basically, more reliable train operations and better ETAs would improve train connection reliability and allow more efficient allocation of yard crews and other terminal resources. Better information on the location of interchange, industry, and local crews will allow more effective supervision of these operations. Overall, a 1-2 hour reduction in average yard times and a 5-10% improvement in the utilization of terminal crews may be achievable. Advanced train dispatching systems therefore do have the potential for improving general freight service over and above the effects on line operations alone. While dramatic improvements in overall service should not be expected, reductions of perhaps 6 to 12 hours in average trip times and substantial improvements in reliability appear to be realistic.

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  • Accession Number: 00495732
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Jul 31 1990 12:00AM