• electric railway;
  • rail vehicle;
  • optimization;
  • speed profile;
  • energy-saving operation


The optimal operation of railway systems minimizing total energy consumption is discussed in this paper. Firstly, some measures of finding energy-saving train speed profiles are outlined. After the characteristics that should be considered in optimizing train operation are clarified, complete optimization based on optimal control theory is reviewed. Their basic formulations are summarized taking into account most of the difficult characteristics peculiar to railway systems. Three methods of solving the formulation, dynamic programming (DP), gradient method, and sequential quadratic programming (SQP), are introduced. The last two methods can also control the state of charge (SOC) of the energy storage devices. By showing some numerical results of simulations, the significance of solving not only optimal speed profiles but also optimal SOC profiles of energy storage are emphasized, because the numerical results are beyond the conventional qualitative studies. Future scope for applying the methods to real-time optimal control is also mentioned. Copyright © 2010 Institute of Electrical Engineers of Japan. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Inc.