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Engineering

Research project: OCCASION

Currently Active: 
Yes

OCCASION was funded by the RSSB, EPSRC and DfT and had objectives to identify and investigate innovative methods of increasing the capacity of nodes (i.e. junctions and stations) on the railway network, without substantial investment in additional infrastructure.  This was completed in 2012.

Project Overview

A train graph for the Peterborough area
A train graph for the Peterborough area

 

To this end, a state-of-the-art review of recent and on-going work in this area was conducted, and tools were developed to (i) assess existing and predicted levels of capacity utilisation at nodes, thus filling a gap in the current assessment ‘toolbox’, and (ii) investigate improved options for re-routeing and re-scheduling trains, with a view to reducing capacity utilisation levels and making more use of the capacity potentially available, including consideration of the interactions between timetable changes at adjacent nodes. Using a case study of Peterborough and the East Coast Main Line, these tools provided solutions to deliver reduced levels of capacity utilisation, and thus increases in capacity and/or service reliability. Incremental changes to existing railway technologies (e.g. improved points) and operating practice (e.g. relaxations of the Timetable Planning Rules) were investigated, as were concepts from other modes (e.g. road and air transport) and sectors (e.g. production scheduling). The capacity utilisation analysis tools have since been used in collaboration with Arup in the Capacity Charge Recalibration for Network Rail.

 

Related research groups

Transportation Group

Staff

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