Strategies for Effective Rail Track Capacity Usuage

There is clearly a need among US freight railroads for better analytical tools to manage their capacity and scheduling. A challenging problem is determining the effect of shipments on a railroad, comprising estimation of the travel times and delays in the network plus determination of the most efficient method of scheduling these loads. As global trade continues to increase, cargo traffic at the nation's ports continues to increase at dramatic levels. For example, the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach (San Pedro Bay Ports) are among the busiest ports in America. Booming trade with Pacific Rim nations has seen the annual trade in the two ports exceed 100 million tons with anticipation to double and possibly triple their cargo by 2020 (Leachman, 2002). The total volume that these ports handle is evenly divided between transcontinental and local shipments. Furthermore, a large portion of the local shipments are re-packaged and/or sorted at local warehouse facilities for re-shipment across the continent. Railways form the major means to transcontinentally move these goods. The growth in the number of containers has already introduced congestion and threatened the accessibility and capacity of the rail network system in the Los Angeles area. As a result, various US rail lines have experienced severe congestion. Average transit times have stretched out in many corridors. To improve transit times we propose to study the effect of shipments on a railroad, comprising estimation of the travel times and delays in the network plus determination of the most efficient method of scheduling these loads