Impact of High Speed Passenger Trains on Freight Train Efficiency in Shared Railway Corridors

Sponsor:  National University Rail Center

PI:  Kuilin Zhang

Task 1: Literature review. A comprehensive literature review will be conducted on existing research in railway capacity and train delay to assess the state of knowledge and to ensure that all relevant previous work is incorporated into the work to be conducted in this proposed project.

Task 2: Analytical corridor capacity model. The core task of this research project is to develop an analytical framework to estimate rail corridor capacity under mixed high-speed passenger traffic and regular freight traffic. The outcome will help quantify the following: how high-speed passenger trains affect the capacity of a shared railway corridor, what are the relationships among various operational and design factors (e.g. speed, headway, and siding spacing), and how do these design factors affect the railroad capacity.

Task 3: Simulation validation. A commercial software called Rail Traffic Controller (RTC) will be used to evaluate the effects of homogeneous and heterogeneous train operations. We will analyze train delays caused by introducing passenger trains on a single track freight network (the most common track configuration in North America). We will then validate the analytical model proposed in Task 2.

Task 4: Optimization model and design guidelines. Based on the validated capacity model, optimization models and design guidelines (e.g. speed, headway, and infrastructure design) will be developed to maximize corridor capacity for both freight and passenger traffic. The optimization model will cope with train delays due to the knock-on effects, i.e. meet, pass, overtake, and possible delay propagation in a mixed traffic system.

Task 5: Policy development and analysis. The proposed modeling framework will be used as the basis for policy analysis (regarding planning, management, and operations of the shared rail corridor). Several key issues such as infrastructure investment, service charge/pricing, and public subsidies (for accommodating the high-speed passenger trains) will be addressed to support decision making for both public agencies and the private sector.

Task 6: Final report. Each individual task will be documented in a progress report. The final report will include the literature review, model development, validation, and key technical and policy findings. We will publish journal papers and make conference presentations to disseminate findings from this project. Michigan Tech will lead the efforts in Tasks 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, and will participate in all the remaining tasks.

Kuilin Zhang
Kuilin Zhang