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The 8 th International Conference May 19–20, 2011, Vilnius, Lithuania Selected papers

ISSN 2029-7106 print / ISSN 2029-7092 online ISBN 978-9955-28-829-9 (3 Volume) ISBN 978-9955-28-827-5 (3 Volumes) © Vilnius Gediminas Technical University, 2011


Vaidas Ramunas 1 , Inesa Gailiene 2 , Igoris Podagelis 3

1, 2, 3 Vilnius Gediminas technical university, Saulėtekio ave.11, LT-10223 Vilnius, Lithuania. E-mail: 2

Abstract. As amount of transportation increases capacity in some railway infrastructure places becomes insufficient. Usually increment of number of tracks in all or part of an overloaded line seems the most simple and clear solution.

However investments into infrastructure are very large and expansion of infrastructure in populous territories may be impossible. Therefore all means enabling limitation or avoidance of infrastructure development or reconstruction have to be discussed. The main parameter influencing railway line capacity is difference in train speeds. Increasing the difference between the highest and the lowest train speed, feasible line capacity decreases. Reduction of the difference between train speeds enables increment of railway line capacity without changing infrastructure.

A research estimating variables that determine commercial speed of trains and their importance is presented in the

article. The commercial speed of trains depends on rolling stock traction and characteristics of breaking system, stop-

page duration and some traffic control conditions. To decrease the difference between the train speeds the speed of the slowest trains has to be increased but the speed of the high speed trains must not be decreased. The freight trains and the passenger trains that stop in the intermediate stations very often are the slowest ones in the mixed traffic rail- way lines. Influence of different variables is evaluated using sensitivity analysis thus estimating potential increase in capacity.

In the research examples of AB „Lietuvos geležinkeliai“ (SC “Lithuanian railways”) infrastructure are used. After

obtaining the results actions for increment of district capacity are suggested, without changing infrastructure parame- ters. The methodology assumes that the railway system consists of three main components: infrastructure, rolling stock

and organizational traffic control means. When optimizing the railway transport system, interaction of the three com- ponents must be considered.

Keywords: railway infrastructure, line capacity, organizational means, train speed.

1. Introduction

As transportation demand increases most of the European railways meet the problem of insufficient line capacity. Railway transport is safer, friendlier to environment and more effective than the road transport (Adamko and Klima 2008; Bureika 2008; Dailydka et al. 2008; Lata 2008; Lingaitis and Pukalskas 2008a, 2008b; Вериго и Коган 1986). However railway infrastructure needs huge investments (Jarašūnienė 2009; Maskeliūnaitė et al. 2009; Lalive and Schmutzler 2008; Morkvėnas et al. 2008; Susnienė and Jurkauskas 2008; Šelih et al. 2008; Žvirblis and Zinkevičiūtė 2008; Butkevičius 2007, 2008; Vasilis Vasiliauskas and Barysienė 2008; Tolli and Lav- ing 2007; Su et al. 2006; Огинская и Толкачева 2006). Increasing fuel prices, crowded roads and streets, environmental problems, increasing prices of public transport enhance demand of passenger and freight trains (Butkevičius 2009). In the populous territories where transportation is insufficient, the line capacity is insuffi-

cient as well. Therefore the capacity becomes insufficient in the main lines that connect separate urbanized territo- ries too. Usually the easiest way is chosen to increase the line capacity, i.e. – one more track is built in the lines or dis- tricts with insufficient capacity parameters. However it is expensive solution and sometimes it is even impossible in populous territories. Therefore it should be discussed how train traffic in the existing infrastructure should be in- creased, intensifying operation and having limited re- sources. (Harrod 2007). Train speed difference is the variable that has the greatest influence on the line capacity. Having a possibil- ity to equalize (homogenize) the train speeds, much big- ger capacities could be gained. In the long districts dec- rement of high speed train speeds is ineffective and un- economic. Therefore increment of low speed train speeds thus reducing the difference between the train speeds would be much more logic solution (Dessouky et al. 2010). The freight trains and the passenger trains that


stop in the intermediate stations very often are the slowest ones in the mixed traffic railway lines Speed of these trains depends on their traction and stopping characteris- tics, traffic control systems/ways and other restrictions caused by infrastructure (Buri and Tzieropoulos 2009). Analysis described in the article is based on the ex- amples of SC “Lithuanian Railways” infrastructure. Real- istic examples have been used to show that the line ca- pacity can be increased realizing exact technical or run- ning solutions.

2. Estimation of the capacity

Usually capacity is described as a number of trains passing the district in some time. However the capacity can not be expressed as exact value calculated according to a formula when railway network is concerned. Net- work capacity highly depends on the traffic schedule and traffic consistence. Different schedules create different network capacity. Every schedule requires different in- vestments into infrastructure (Harrod 2007; Abril et al. 2007). Residual (reserve) capacity variation is subject to the traffic consistency (e.g. mixed passenger and freight train traffic) (Landex 2008).

2.1. Line capacity in homogeneous traffic

It is not difficult to estimate the capacity in a line where the train speeds and stopping characteristics are identical. Train routs in the diagram are homogeneous. In such case the capacity is inversely proportional to mini- mal interval (Abril et al. 2007). (A time span when two trains pass straight one after another) (Fig 1.).

when two trains pass straight one after another) (Fig 1.). Fig 1. Line capacity in homogeneous

Fig 1. Line capacity in homogeneous traffic

If intermediate station has the only track to accept the train, common line capacity is reduced because of the station capacity: coming trains can not be taken in until the former train leaves. Stopping time and especially time when passengers take a train are the factors that have the greatest influence for estimation of minimal interval (A time span when two trains pass straight one after another) (SC „Lithuanian Railways“ 2007). Generally it is discussed about totality of actions that increase the line capacities, until additional restrictions in

the terminal district stations (last stations of train rout) caused by the network performance emerge.

2.2. Line capacity in the mixed traffic

Mixed traffic with trains of different categories, hav- ing different stopping characteristics is the most common in many lines. As speeds are not the same and times in the train schedules are not homogenous the line capacity is influenced by two more factors (Dessouky et al. 2010; Harrod 2007): distance between contiguous stations where faster train can overtake the slower ones;train driv- ing order, i.e. – order of routs in a district. It is impossible to calculate track capacity using one formula. In order to optimize the track capacity it is nec- essary to create a diagram. In figure 2 two different lay- outs of routs in the same district are presented. It is noted that absolutely different capacities are obtained.

is noted that absolutely different capacities are obtained. Fig 2. Line capacity in the mixed traffic

Fig 2. Line capacity in the mixed traffic

Therefore, if the stopping time of the slower train is increased and the faster train overtakes it, the line capac- ity is increased. However service quality of the slower train decreases. Such solution is usually used for the freight trains, but has to be avoided for the passenger ones. Even in the very good railway lines stopping time of the slow train is not less than 5-6 minutes. It markedly decreases service quality and commercial usefulness (profitability).

2.3. Increment of the capacity increasing speeds of the slowest trains

Train routes become very close in a mixed traffic when a train enters or leaves a station where the faster train overtakes the slower one. The maximum capacity is reached when the train routs are separated by the time intervals equal to a time span when two trains pass straight one after another. This time span is also regulated in the safety requirements. (Abril et al. 2007; Buri and Tzieropoulos 2009; Noordeen 1996).

Speed increment of the slowest trains allows trains to enter the station earlier or leave it later. If time savings reach or exceed minimal time span when two trains pass straight one after another, regulated in the safety require- ments and signaling systems, it becomes possible to insert additional train rout of slower or faster train (see Fig 3).


Fig 3. Influence of speed increment of the slower trains on the capacity In such

Fig 3. Influence of speed increment of the slower trains on the capacity

In such case it is purposeful to evaluate the train ac-

celeration in respect of saved (gained) minutes. Thus time savings can be compared to a minimal interval between two trains and sufficiency of the speed acceleration is estimated for insertion of additional train thus increment- ing the line capacity. This is not the only way to improve the capacity however it is very important in order to op- timize the railway system in general. Technical and control issues concerning the train speed are discussed in other chapters. Making proper alterations capacity can be increased. Freight and passen- ger trains are analyzed separately because their working

processes are different.

3. Passenger trains

Local passenger trains are the slowest ones because they stop in every station. Speed limit in the lines and distance between stoppages are not the only factors influ- encing common (working) speed. Three more factors can be accentuated (Landex 2008; Abril et al. 2007):

Traction and stopping characteristics; Speed limitations caused by technical reasons, when trains enter or leave a station from the side- ways; Stoppage duration.

3.1. Traction characteristics

Assuming that the train can reach permissible dis- trict speed, additional time savings can be obtained if acceleration and stopping (that does not have so much influence) is increased. In figure 4 time savings are depic- ted (hatched area). They are obtained when the train trac- tion characteristics are improved. Savings of few seconds in a long district without intermediate stoppages do not have influence on capacity. However total time savings of trains that stop very often can markedly increase capacity.

It is especially relevant in short districts where the trains with better characteristics can reach and stand the maxi- mal line speed. Calculation of train traction is needed for estimation of exact time savings. For this research a program “Trac- tion” has been used.

A passenger train can reflect main dependences. 16

trains with different parameters are chosen for the re- search. The trains are constructed using 4 different loco-

motives. Every of them are loaded with different loads:

300 t (5 wagons); 600 t (10 wagons); 900 t (15 wagons); 1200 t (20 wagons). Characteristics of the locomotives are presented in table 1.

Characteristics of the locomotives are presented in table 1. Fig 4. A diagram showing movement of

Fig 4. A diagram showing movement of trains with differ- ent acceleration indicators in short and long districts

Table 1. Characteristics of locomotives






Length of





locomotive, m

Mass of lo- comotive, t





Weight of





locomotive, t



nal speed,








speed, km/h







traction force,






Traction force maing a mo- ve, kgj





To determine more exact influence of the character- istics on travel time, traction calculations are done in the district „Gudagojis – Vilnius kel.“. It is assumed that the train will also stop in Kena, Kyviškės and Naujoji Vilnia. After calculation of traction, travel time of every train is presented in Table 2. These results are presented as a dia- gram (see Fig 5).

Table 2. Travel time of every train


Travel time, s


300 t

600 t

900 t

1200 t






















Fig 5. Dependence of travel time in the district „Gudagojis – Vilnius kel.“ on locomotives

Fig 5. Dependence of travel time in the district „Gudagojis – Vilnius kel.“ on locomotives and loads

In this district of 45,288 km (lengths of the side tracks: 16,184 km; 11,897 km; 8,03 km and 9,177 km) having 3 intermediate stoppages (average distance be- tween the intermediate stoppages is 11,322 km) travel time of every train markedly differs. Figure 5 shows that the travel time is highly dependent on loads and rolling stock traction characteristics. Thus importance of exact calculation of passenger quantity and rational estimation of wagon and traction rolling stock amount is even more emphasized. The difference would be even larger if the distance between stoppages was less. However passenger travel time savings are not as important as frequent stoppages (choosing locomotive with better characteristics) in popu- lous territories without disturbing high speed trains that pass these districts.

3.2. Speed limitation at the approach to the station

To stop in a station it is ideal to start braking as later as possible. When braking starts very early, time is lost. The longer the speed limitation zone the larger the time losses. (Abril et al. 2007; Landex 2008). The speed limi- tation depends on: technical reasons – switch type; safety conditions – in the dead-end stations or when slippage distance is insufficient, speed limitations ensure train stopping without negative results; regulations – for e.g. speed limitations for a train intending to stop in a station. In Figure 6 the hatched area depicts time losses or possible time savings if limitations are eliminated. It is the simplest example when movement of two trains is calculated using different hypothesis. Possibilities to re- duce travel time are visible.

Possibilities to re- duce travel time are visible. Fig 6. Influence of speed limitation at approaches

Fig 6. Influence of speed limitation at approaches to the station on travel time losses

3.2.1. Limitations related to the switches

The largest stream of trains through Lithuania is by transit. It means that the transit trains pass railway sta- tions nonstop and their speed decreases while passing through the switches. Such situation results in decreased total average speed. Consequently, having a purpose to increase the train speed it is necessary to improve the switch construction, technical conditions and mainte- nance (Gailienė et al. 2008). The speed limit entering the station is estimated re- ferring to the speed limitations that depend on the type of switch. Train speed is decreased when passing the switch thus making additional time losses. The loss of time depends on the type of switch and on the distance between platform and switch point rail end. Increment of the mentioned distance puts speed limi- tation forward. Therefore, when performing infrastructure renovation, it is important to discuss possibilities to use the switch of a proper type at the approaches to the sta- tions. Thus line and station capacity could be increased.

3.2.2. Speed limitation in the platform zone

Speed limitation is valid in the whole platform length. Therefore time losses are highly dependent on the platform length. Figure 7 shows that the train stopping time losses are small when the platform is short however they increase when the platform length increases. Therefore they be- come very important, especially when difference of speed limitation before the platform and speed limitation in the platform is very big: ABCD < A‘B‘C‘D‘ and ABEF < A‘B‘E‘F‘. Time losses also depend on the difference of permis- sible speed in the district and limited speed in the plat- form zone. The bigger the distance the greater the losses:

V 1 – V SR < V 2 – V SR ABCD < ABEF and A’B’C’D’ < A’B’E’F’. Time losses are also influenced by a braking force. The dotted line in the Figure 7 depicts situation when the train traction and braking parameters are worse. In such case permissible speed is not reached in short districts every time. It is obvious that having rolling stock with better parameters and smooth braking, the line capacity could be increased avoiding time losses such as OBEF‘A‘.


Fig 7. Dependence of the time losses on speed and platform length 3.2.3. Control accuracy

Fig 7. Dependence of the time losses on speed and platform length

3.2.3. Control accuracy

4. Freight trains

The human factor is an important element for stable performance. As changes in behavior are natural for the train operators, manual control will not ensure scheduled train time table. Usually time difference, originating from driver’s behavior, does not exceed few seconds. This time is computed into the train schedules (travel time is a little bit increased comparing to the calculated. Time reserve is given). Despite the time reserve some train operators do not manage to come in time (especially in rush hours). There- fore system stability can be affected in highly loaded or almost overfull lines. In some countries train control as- sistance system is installed in the locomotives and opera- tors who keep on schedule are placed to control the lo- comotive during the rush hours. (Černiauskaitė et al.

Discussions about passenger trains are valid for freight trains as well. Besides after-effect of stopping at approaches to the station can be much more serious for freight trains, because their length can be up to 1000 m. Figure 8 depicts traction comparison in Nemėžis – Ky- viškės intermediate station where declination of longitu- dinal profile has significant influence on speed. There is 8,4% uphill in this intermediate station of Lithuania. The following locomotives are used for comparison: 2M62- 2*1470kW; 2M62M-2*1700kW; 2ER20CF-2*2000kW. Transportation of trains using locomotives of differ- ent series was performed in natural way. The obtained data was processed using computer software. Time consumption of locomotives of different series driving in the same number of lines with reference to the


computer analysis was estimated (see Table 3). Average

3.3. Stoppage time

number of trains that pass this intermediate station in one direction is 18 (distance between station axes is 7 km).

Minimal stoppage time in the station depends on the passenger stream through the wagon door, door width, step distance (height between the platform and the first step and space between the platform and the wagon), etc. Railway carrier and infrastructure manager set time of stoppage considering station and rolling stock type. For example in Switzerland minimal stoppage time for regional trains is 30-36 seconds (0,5 – 0,6 min.), in France minimal stoppage time for the same type of trains is about a minute (Buri and Tzieropoulos 2009). Mean- while in Lithuania stoppage time is 1-3 minutes. Stoppage time in smaller stations is usually shorter. In such case rule of 1 or more minutes evokes additional time losses. These losses can become very significant when summing total time losses in smaller stations. Avoidance of these time losses could be very useful for optimization of overloaded line capacity.

Table 3. Dependence of time consumption on locomotive

Locomotive series and calculated weight of train

Locomotive series and calculated weight of train

2M62 - 4000 t.

2M62M - 5000 t.

2ER20CF – 6000t.


work bruto




t. 2M62M - 5000 t. 2ER20CF – 6000t. Performed work bruto 540000 630000 756000 Time

Time con-

sumtion, min.




The time consumption of locomotive 2ER20CF is 8 min less than the time consumption of 2M62 and 5 min- utes less than 2M62M in this district. Knowing that 18 trains pass this railway line, time consumption for Sie- mens locomotives would be 144 minutes (2 h 24 min.) less than that of 2M62 locomotives or 90 min (1 h 30 min) less than 2M62M locomotives. Operation of loco- motives 2M62M is 20 % and 2ER20CF - 34% more effi- cient than that of 2M62 in the district.


Fig 8. Schedule of trains with locomotives of different series 5. Conclusions Factors influencing commercial

Fig 8. Schedule of trains with locomotives of different series

5. Conclusions

Factors influencing commercial train speed and ca- pacity are discussed in the article. Suggestions to increase railway line capacity without building the new tracks are presented. Possibilities to improve the capacity by im- plementing necessary changes in the rolling stock depot, regulations and infrastructure (switches in the station ends) were discussed. Increment of rolling stock specific force is the most effective when speed of a slower train is increased and variety of train routs is decreased, thus inserting addi- tional rout into dense schedule. Separation of infrastructure control and train opera- tion control can evoke negative effect, because separation does not facilitate optimization of railway system. Infra- structure managers are responsible for the capacity prob- lems. Train operators make decisions concerning rolling stocks. Therefore it is necessary to think of ways, rules and procedures to make both interested parties work to- gether.


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