Designing alternative railway timetables under infrastructure maintenance possessions

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - europe, mode - rail, operations - scheduling, operations - coordination, infrastructure - maintainance


Railway timetable, Maintenance, Possessions, Train timetable adjustment problem (TTAP), Mixed integer linear programming, PESP


Increasing supply in railway networks comes at the cost of an increased need for infrastructure maintenance. This also means adjusting the timetable due to long maintenance or constructions’ possessions. In this article, we introduce the Train Timetable Adjustment Problem (TTAP), which for given station and open-track possessions, finds an alternative timetable that minimizes the deviation from the original timetable. We propose a mixed integer linear programming (MILP) model for solving TTAP, and apply retiming, reordering, short-turning and cancellation to generate alternative timetables. The model represents an extended periodic event scheduling problem (PESP) formulation and introduces new constraints for cancelling and retiming train lines, while short-turning is being applied in a preprocessing step. In order to solve larger and more complex instances, we use a row generation approach to add station capacity constraints. The model solves real-life instances with multiple possessions for a large area of the Dutch railway network in reasonable time, and could be up-scaled to the complete Dutch network. Additionally, it may be applicable for disruption management after some modifications. Operators and infrastructure managers could use it to automatically generate optimal alternative timetables on the macroscopic level in case of maintenance or construction works and thus, coordinate traffic for the complete network.


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


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