Train Planning (also known as railway scheduling) is an area of substantial importance
to the success of any railway. Through train planning, railway managers aim to meet the
needs of customers whilst using as low a level of resources (infrastructure, rolling stock
and staff) as possible. Efficient and effective train planning is essential to get the best
possible performance out of a railway network.
The author of this thesis aims, firstly, to analyse the processes which are used to
develop train plans and the extent to which they meet the objectives that they might be
expected to meet and, secondly, to investigate selected new and innovative software
approaches that might make a material difference to the effectiveness and/or efficiency
of train planning processes. These aims are delivered using a range of primarily
qualitative research methods, including literature reviews, interviews, participant
observation and case studies, to understand these processes and software.
Conclusions regarding train planning processes include how the complexity of these
processes hinders their effectiveness, the negative impact of the privatisation of British
Rail on these processes and the conflicting nature of objectives for train planning in the
Train planning software is found not to adequately support train planners in meeting the
objectives they are set. The potential for timetable generation using heuristics and for
timetable performance simulation to improve the effectiveness of train planning are
discussed and recommendations made for further research and development to address
the limitations of the software currently available.
A Doctoral Thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements of Loughborough University for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy.