TITLE

Economies of Scale in Empty Freight Car Distribution in Scheduled Railways

AUTHOR(S)
Joborn, Martin; Crainic, Teodor Gabriel; Gendreau, Michel; Holmberg, Kaj; Lundgren, Jan T.
PUB. DATE
May 2004
SOURCE
Transportation Science;May2004, Vol. 38 Issue 2, p121
SOURCE TYPE
Academic Journal
DOC. TYPE
Article
ABSTRACT
In this paper, we consider empty freight car distribution in a scheduled railway system. We analyze the cost structure for the repositioning of empty cars, and conclude that the distribution cost shows an economy-of-scale behavior. In addition to the cost proportional to the number of cars sent from origin to destination, there is a cost related to car-handling operations at yards, which depends on the number of car groups that are handled. Thus, if we can find a transportation pattern in which fewer but larger groups of cars are built, the total distribution cost can be decreased. The objective of the paper is to propose an optimization model that explicitly takes this economy-of-scale effect into account. We use a time-dependent network to describe the possible car movements in time and space, and show how this network can be transformed into a network with fixed costs on links representing movements of cars with identical origin and destination terminals. The resulting optimization model is a capacitated network design model, where each capacity constraint limits the flow on several arcs. We describe a tabu heuristic for solving the model, and present computational results.
ACCESSION #
13157585

 

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