A comparison of different configurations of a Centrally Guided Train Operation System in Dutch Railway Operations

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

mode - rail, place - europe, operations - scheduling, ridership - drivers, planning - safety/accidents, infrastructure - traffic signals, technology - intelligent transport systems, planning - methods


Driver advisory system, Real time traffic management, Train rescheduling, Safety in train operation


Although Dutch train operation is one of the safest in the European Union, safety remains one of the top priorities. On a yearly basis, an estimated 7 million red signal approaches occur on the Dutch railway network for the largest train operating company NS Reizigers. These red signals alert a driver to prepare to stop the train, possibly because the next section of the track is occupied by another train. Out of these 7 million red signal approaches, 3 million red signal approaches are estimated to be caused by small deviations from the planning. As a result of this continuous focus on safety aspects, ProRail, the Dutch rail infrastructure manager, and NSR started a project to empower train drivers with more information on the current situation and near future related to their trains. In a simulation study four train driving strategies were compared in two areas in the network. These strategies, ranked in order of increasing level of driver information quality, are: first is driving at highest allowed speed, second is following the timetable without advisory speed information, third is using advisory speed information without changing train orders, and fourth is using advisory speed information with the possibility of changing train orders. At each location the timetable has been exposed to three increasing levels of disturbance scenarios. Results show that the advisory speeds strategy (third) reaps a large part of the safety benefits that the fourth (limited Centrally Guided Train Operation) strategy is able to achieve.


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