Analyzing the theoretical capacity of railway networks with a radial-backbone topology

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

mode - rail, place - europe, planning - travel demand management, planning - network design, operations - capacity, operations - scheduling


Railway transportation, Capacity analysis, Train scheduling, Shared corridor


In this work we propose a mechanism to optimize the capacity of the main corridor within a railway network with a radial-backbone or X-tree structure. The radial-backbone (or X-tree) structure is composed of two types of lines: the primary lines that travel exclusively on the common backbone (main corridor) and radial lines which, starting from the common backbone, branch out to individual locations. We define possible line configurations as binary strings and propose operators on them for their analysis, yielding an effective algorithm for generating an optimal design and train frequencies. We test our algorithm on real data for the high speed line Madrid–Seville. A frequency plan consistent with the optimal capacity is then proposed in order to eliminate the number of transfers between lines as well as to minimize the network fleet size, determining the minimum number of vehicles needed to serve all travel demand at maximum occupancy.


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


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