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Economies of scale in empty freight car distribution in scheduled railways
Carmen Consulting, Maria Bangata 6, Stockholm SE-118 63, Sweden.
Intelligent Transp. Systems Lab., Ctr. de recherche sur les transports, Université de Montréal, Montréal, Que. H3C 3J7, Canada, Dept. de management et technologie, Ecoles des Sciences de la Gestion, Univ. du Quebec à Montreal, Montréal, Que. H3C 4R2, Canada.
Ctr. de recherche sur les transports, Dept. d'info./rech. operationnelle, Université de Montréal, Montréal, Que. H3C 3J7, Canada.
Linköping University, The Institute of Technology. Linköping University, Department of Mathematics, Optimization .ORCID iD: 0000-0001-5907-0087
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2004 (English)In: Transportation Science, ISSN 0041-1655, Vol. 38, no 2, 121-134 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

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. © 2004 INFORMS.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2004. Vol. 38, no 2, 121-134 p.
Keyword [en]
Empty freightcar distribution, Scheduled railways, Tabu search, Time-dependent capacitated network design
National Category
Engineering and Technology
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-45756DOI: 10.1287/trsc.1030.0061OAI: diva2:266652
Available from: 2009-10-11 Created: 2009-10-11 Last updated: 2013-08-29

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