The railway line frequency and size setting problem

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

mode - rail, planning - methods, planning - network design, operations - capacity, operations - frequency, economics - profitability


Railway line planning, Mathematical programming, Heuristics


The problem studied in this paper takes as input data a set of lines forming a railway network, and an origin–destination (OD) matrix. The OD pairs may use either the railway network or an alternative transportation mode. The objective is to determine the frequency/headway of each line as well as its number of carriages, so that the net profit of the railway network is maximized. We propose a mixed integer non-linear programming formulation for this problem. Because of the computational intractability of this model, we develop four algorithms: a mixed integer linear programming (MIP) model, a MIP-based iterative algorithm, a shortest-path based algorithm, and a local search. These four algorithms are tested and compared over a set of randomly generated instances. An application over a case study shows that only the local search heuristic is capable of dealing with large instances.


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