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Keywords:

  • Dispatching problem;
  • Mixed Integer Linear programming

Abstract

Trains running through railway lines often accumulate some delay. When this happens, rescheduling and rerouting decisions must be quickly taken in real time. Despite the fact that even a single wrong decision may deteriorate the performance of the whole railway network, this complex optimization task is still basically performed by human operators. In very recent years, the interest of train operators to implement automated decision systems has grown. Not incidentally, the railway application section (RAS) of INFORMS has issued a challenge devoted to this problem concomitantly with the INFORMS Annual Meeting 2012. In this article, we describe two heuristic approaches to solve the RAS problem based on a mixed integer linear programming formulation, and we report computational results on the three RAS instances and on an additional set of instances defined on a more congested network. Computational results on the challenge test bed show that our algorithms positively compare with other approaches to the RAS problem. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. NETWORKS, Vol. 62(4), 315–326 2013