Optimal Planning of Rail Grinding Activities in Large-scale Networks

Every year, United States (U.S.) railroads spend millions of dollars on grinding of rails so as to prevent wear and fatigue of rail steel from proceeding at an increasing pace. Usually, a fleet of rail-bound grinders (and the associated crew) must travel across in a large-scale railroad network to restore the condition of rail tracks. Thousands of track segments must be grinded at certain frequencies (varying from once a few months to once a couple of years) to ensure safety of train operations, and the schedule of the rail grinders must typically be updated every a few months. The schedule should not only meet the grinding frequency requirement of each segment but also satisfy complex interrelations among these segments (e.g., geography- and traffic-based priorities, mutually exclusiveness, and time windows). These constraints could be either hard (i.e., should not be violated at all) or soft (i.e., may be violated with a penalty). Sometimes, resource planning is also needed in order to determine the optimal grinder fleet size and to balance workload throughout the years. This project creates a decision-support system (including advanced mathematical models and efficient solution algorithms) for the optimal scheduling of rail grinding activities and economic planning of resources, which can (i) enhance railroad safety by better satisfying the grinding frequency requirements, and (ii) help reduce operation costs by minimizing the number of grinders, travel costs, overtime work hours, and resource conflicts.

    Language

    • English

    Project

    • Status: Active
    • Contract Numbers:

      DTRT13-G-UTC52

      NURail2016-UIUC-R17

    • Sponsor Organizations:

      Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology

      University Transportation Centers Program
      Department of Transportation
      Washington, DC  United States  20590
    • Managing Organizations:

      Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology

      University Transportation Centers Program
      Department of Transportation
      Washington, DC  United States  20590
    • Principal Investigators:

      Ouyang, Yanfeng

    • Start Date: 20160816
    • Expected Completion Date: 20180815
    • Actual Completion Date: 0

    Subject/Index Terms

    Filing Info

    • Accession Number: 01613509
    • Record Type: Research project
    • Source Agency: National University Rail Center (NURail)
    • Contract Numbers: DTRT13-G-UTC52, NURail2016-UIUC-R17
    • Files: UTC, RiP
    • Created Date: Oct 20 2016 3:30PM