Scheduling for railways and underground mines

The interstate rail network in Australia is mostly single-line track, with occasional crossing loops to allow trains to pass or overtake. It is therefore important to coordinate the movements of trains. Train plans are traditionally developed manually, and it can take many weeks to develop a single feasible plan. Researchers at CIAM have spent many years developing methods and tools to automate scheduling trains and maintenance on railway networks. These scheduling problems are too large and too complex to be tackled by mathematical programming techniques; instead, we have developed practical solution techniques using network search heuristics, genetic algorithms, Problem Space Search, and Cross Entropy Optimisation.

We have also applied similar techniques to crew rostering and to the scheduling of truck movements in underground mines.

Researchers: Amie AlbrechtPhil HowlettPeter PudneyKevin White

Research grants

2011-2013, Saving energy on trains, ARC Linkage
2009-2011, Train planning assessment tools, Rail CRC
2009-2011, Corridor capacity analysis, Rail CRC
2009-2010, Dynamic crew allocation, Rail CRC
2005, Assessing the impact of speed restrictions, Rail CRC 
2005-2007, Automated scheduling case studies, Rail CRC 
2002-2004, Decision support tools for assessing network performance, Rail CRC
2002-2004, Dynamic rescheduling on long-haul rail networks, Rail CRC
2002-2004, An integrated train scheduling system for rail networks, Rail CRC 
1998-2000, A new generation of railway modelling tools, SPIRT 
1991-1993, Scheduling and control of trains, GIRD 
1989-1990, Technology transfer and further development of a railway fuel conservation system, NERDDC 
1988-1989, Energy conservation on long haul trains, NERDDC


Muntazam Kamaruzaman, in progress, Cooperative game theory and train scheduling. 
Indu Wadhawan, in progress, Cross Entropy Optimisation of pick-up and delivery problems with queueing. 

Hamideh Anjomshoa, 2011, Optimal placement of passing bays in underground mines. 

Scott Mackenzie, 2011, Train scheduling on long haul railway corridors. 

Amie Albrecht, 2009, Integrating railway track maintenance and train timetables.

Key publications

AR Albrecht, DM Panton & DH Lee DH, 'Rescheduling rail networks with maintenance disruptions using Problem Space Search', Computers & Operations Research, doi:10.1016/j.cor.2010.09.001 

AR Albrecht, J de Jong, PG Howlett, PJ Pudney, 'Estimating the robustness of train plans for single-line corridors with crossing loops', Proceedings of the 9th Biennial Engineering Mathematics and Applications Conference, EMAC-2009, edited by P Howlett, M Nelson & AJ Roberts, ANZIAM Journal, 2010, pp. C768-C783. 

IB Wadhawan, PJ Pudney, PG Howlett & J Piantadosi, 'Scheduling trains with cross entropy optimisation', Proceedings of the 9th Biennial Engineering Mathematics and Applications Conference, EMAC-2009, edited by P Howlett, M Nelson & AJ Roberts, ANZIAM Journal vol. 51, 2010, pp. C332-C346. 

AR Albrecht, PG Howlett & D Coleman, 'Application of original “destination matrices to the design of train services', Australasian Journal of Engineering Education, vol. 15, no. 9, 2009, pp. 95-104. 
H Anjomshoa, DH Lee, PJ Pudney, AR Albrecht & SA Mackenzie SA, 'Passing bays in an underground mine', Mining Technology (IMM Transactions Section A), vol. 119, no. 1, 2010, pp. 31-33. 

P Pudney & A Wardrop, 'Generating train plans with Problem Space Search', in Computer-aided Systems in Public Transport, edited by M Hickman, P Mirchandani & S Voß, Lecture Notes in Economics and Mathematical Systems, Springer, 2008.

Areas of study and research

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