San Antonio Meeting

San Antonio Riverwalk The Fall 2000 INFORMS National Meeting was held in San Antonio, TX, November 5-6, 2000. For more information, contact Pooja Dewan, Burlington Northern Santa Fe, the cluster chair, at 817-352-2257, or by e-mail at

Click here for information about the full INFORMS conference, including registration, hotel and venue information.  A printable announcement can be downloaded (requires Adobe Acrobat Reader 4.0)

RASIG Roundtable - How Do We Measure?  Successes & Failures of Operations Research in the Rail Industry

Rountable Chair: Ingrid Schultze, Reebie Associates, 2777 Summer St, Stamford, CT  06905,, 203-705-0455

SC28, Sunday, November 5, 1:15 - 2:45 pm, Roundtable Session 1

Session Chair, Carl Martland, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Panel A-- Network and Strategic Planning Applications

Ingrid Schultze, Reebie Associates, Moderator

(a) Consultant Perspective - Bengt Mutén, Reebie Associates.  Successes/failures of network planning & diversion models.
Click for Presentation(b) Industry – Jason Kuehn, MultiModal Applied Systems.  Contributions of Operations Research to industry-wide restructuring efforts such as M&A, mixing centers etc.; where OR has worked, where it "needs work".
Click for Presentation(c) Systems Perspective – Roger Baugher, Norfolk Southern.  The system perspective—how technology advances are shaping the application of OR in the rail industry.

Jason Kuehn, Bengt Mutén, Roger Baugher


Panel B-- Corridor-level Planning Applications

Chip Kraft, Amtrak, Moderator – Overview of How We Measure

(a) Consultant Perspective – Howard Rosen, ALK Associates.  Successes and failures of corridor planning models from a systems and consulting perspective.
Click for Presentation(b) Systems Perspective - Roger Baugher, Norfolk Southern.  Contributions of OR to corridor planning efforts—where OR has worked, where it needs work.
Click for Presentation(c) Paul Julich, GE Harris, Meet-pass planning of real-time applications.

SD28, Sunday, November 5, 3:00 - 4:30 pm, Roundtable Session 2: What defines success of OR applications in the Railroad industry? – Part II

Continuing Remarks-How Do We Measure?

Carl Martland, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Reilly McCarren

Panel C-- Terminal Capacity and Planning

Carl Martland, MIT, Moderator – Overview of how we measure.

(a) J. Reilly McCarren, Wisconsin Central System, Railroad requirements perspective
(b) Carl Martland, Massachusetts Institute of Technology - Systems and modeling perspective, along with capacity planning efforts at Union Pacific


Panel D—Railroad Costing

David Helmer, Norfolk Southern (Ret.) - Moderator

Click for Presentation(a) Consultant Perspective - Joe Bryan, Managing Principal, Reebie Associates.
Click for Presentation(b) Carrier Perspective - David Helmer.
(c) International Railroad Perspective – Martha Lawrence, Principal, T&MC.

Business Meeting - Sunday, November 5, 4:45 - 5:45 pm

Convention Center, Room 007A

Roger Baugher was awared the first annual RASIG Award for contributions to OR in the Railroad Industry.

The RASIG By-Laws were be reviewed to better utilize officers.

The next RASIG meeting will be held in conjunction with the INFORMS meeting in Miami in November 2001.

Roger Baugher and Bruce Patty
RASIG Dinner

Dutch Treat Dinner - Sunday, November 5, 6:30 pm

RASIG members and friends braved the rain to gather at Bayous for drinks and dinner.


MA28, Monday, November 6, 8:15 - 9:45 am, Network Flows: Freight Applications (Joint Session Network Flows Cluster & RASIG)

Session Chair: Dharma Acharya, CSX Transportation, 500 Water St. J300, Jacksonville, FL 32202,, 904-366-4374, Fax 904-359-1705.

Click for PresentationA Network Model for Crew Scheduling within Railroads

Pooja Dewan, Manager Operations Research, BNSF Railway, 817-352-2257

Currently railroad crews do not get any scheduled time off.  They can be called to work at any time as long as they are rested and on the active board.  We present a model that can be used to analyze the operating effects of providing crews with structured time off.

Click for PresentationApplication of Network Flow Models in Traffic Data Estimation and Passenger Rail Revenue Management

Erika Egyhaziova, MultiModal Applied Systems, Inc., 609-419-9800

We demonstrate estimation of coal traffic flows from high quality mine and customer data and low quality OD flow data using matrix balancing and network flow algorithms.  We demonstrate a network flow model to estimate “bid prices” in a passenger rail revenue management, and compare it to more complex models.

CANCELLED - Shan’s Block Assignment Model

Yen S. Shan, Perseco, 630-623-4369

Shan’s Block Assignment Model (SBA) solves the block-to-train assignment problem for railroad operations.  It is the first model that takes train capacity into account when assigning blocks to trains.  CSX Transportation utilized this model as a key tool in developing blocking plan for its combined network.

Applying Inverse Optimization Technique to Railway Traffic Flow Network

Natasha Lukiantseva, CSX Transportation, 904-366-4408, Ravindra K. Ahuja, University of Florida, 352-392-3615, Caroline Prawira, Case Western Reserve University

This paper describes the application of the Inverse Optimization Technique to optimally adjust link cost factors to closely match the historical multicommodity traffic flow. When using various tools to simulate railway traffic flow, network link cost factors (impedance’s) are introduced to reflect preferred routes, often times different from shortest paths.

MC28, Monday, November 6, 1:15 - 2:45 pm, Railroad Empty Equipment Distribution Systems

Session Chair: Kevin Crook, BNSF Railway, 2500 Lou Menk Drive, Fort Worth, TX  76131, 817-352-2276, fax 817-352-4875.

Car Distribution Optimization at CN

Anshu Pathak, Canadian National Railways, 514-399-7411

The current car distribution process is described, followed by a discussion of how optimization can be beneficial.  Improving the accuracy of car supply and demand forecasts is seen as the foundation for successful optimization and efforts in this area are discussed.
Roger Baugher

NS Empty Equipment Distribution

Abstract:  A description of the current empty railcar distribution system at NS followed by a discussion of where Operations Research efforts are being targeted to improve the process.

Roger Baugher, Norfolk Southern Railroad, 404-897-3029

Click for PresentationEDO at BNSF Railway

Kevin Crook, Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway, 817-352-2276

Overview of the new Equipment Distribution Optimization (EDO) system recently implemented at BNSF.  Discussion will include an overview of the system, a description of the user training process, preliminary results, and possible enhancements.

CANCELLED - CSX's Dynamic Railcar Planning System

David Bell, CSX Transportation, 904-359-1170

Overview of industry's first real-time, continuous optimization process for managing the distribution of empty freight cars.  In addition to a system overview, the presentation will describe the interface with order processing, the benefits realized by the system, and how the system was used to manage the integration of Conrail.

Other Session of Railroad Interest:


TA26, Issues in Rail Operations, Tuesday 08:15-09:45

Chairs: Alexandra M. Newman, Colorado School of Mines,, Linda K. Nozick, Cornell University.
An Overview of the Railroads' Optimization Needs
David W. Bell; CSX Transportation,

Railroads face many optimization problems, e.g., service design, car and train routing, equipment distribution and crew assignment. We emphasize not only the need for modeling (and solving) realistic versions of these problems, but also the need for integrating the solutions for individual problems into the railroad system as a whole.

Adaptive Dynamic Programming for Real-Time Locomotive Management
Warren B. Powell; Princeton University, CASTLE Lab.,, Belgacem Bouzaiene-Ayari; Princeton University, CASTLE Lab.,

We propose an adaptive dynamic programming algorithm for the real-time management of locomotives for rail freight transportation. The model uses the principle of information decomposition to create diagnosable subproblems.  Value function approximations are used to coordinate actions between subproblems. Numerical results for a large railroad will be presented.

An Optimization Model for Rail Boxcar Routing
Alexandra M. Newman; Colorado School of Mines,

Rail boxcar (merchandise) operations differentiate themselves from intermodal (container) operations in part by an increased complexity of the routing patterns for the traffic. We present a solution methodology for the (centralized) routing of boxcars and show why a simpler (decentralized) solution procedure would not be appropriate in this setting.

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Updated 15 November 2000