Uncertainties in scheduling and execution of trackwork in Sweden

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - europe, mode - rail, infrastructure - track, infrastructure - maintainance


Railway maintenance, Uncertainty, Trackwork scheduling, Planning


Trackwork planning and scheduling are demanding because they require strategic foresight and must be completed well in advance. In Sweden, trackwork is performed by maintenance contracting companies during an operation period free from trains. In the contractors’ practice, once the maintenance plan is authorised, some unexpected events might interrupt the plan’s execution, leading to uncertainties. The purpose of this study is to identify and classify uncertainties and strategies applied to manage uncertainties in the contractors’ everyday planning and scheduling of trackwork. This work presents semi-structured interviews with foremen and planners at railway maintenance contracting companies in Sweden. The main findings show that in trackwork planning and scheduling, contractors deal with two types of uncertainties: internal and external. We categorised uncertainties and strategies to deal with uncertainties and described them on tactical and operational levels. The majority of the revealed uncertainties led to trackwork rescheduling. Furthermore, we suggest that current strategies to manage uncertainties applied at contracting companies can be improved by revising organisational design strategies for maintenance projects. This work increases the understanding and supports the management of uncertainties in trackwork planning and scheduling.


Permission to publish the abstract has been given by SpringerLink, copyright remains with them.