Optimizing Locomotive Scheduling & Deployment: Around Rs. 720 Crore to Be Saved by Indian Railways (Download PDF)

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The Indian Railways has turned to technology to modernize processes. In an effort to increase the productivity of locomotives, and streamline operations, the Indian Railways is all set to use mathematical formulas to calculate the number of locomotives required for each train.

Image of Indian Railways Vision 2020

Image of Indian Railways Vision 2020

Image of Indian Railways Vision 2020

Background: Old Formula to New One by Indian Railways

  • The railways has a fleet of approximately 3,300 electric and diesel locomotive passenger trains across India.

Cyclic Schedules Called Locomotive Links Are Used to Deploy the Locomotives to the Respective Trains

  • Each of railway 16 zones would manually prepare the mentioned locomotive links, to operate the allocated trains, but that is set to change.

  • A software-based decision support system will optimise locomotive deployment to run passenger trains across the nation.

  • The system will use a mathematical model to work out the minimum number of locomotives needed to run all the passenger trains, as per the timetable, slotting in maintenance and operational activities as well.

How Will New System Help Indian Railways?

  • The model will benefit the railways, freeing up 30 diesel and 42 electric locomotives, to the tune of Rs. 720 crore.

  • These newly free locomotives will be utilised to run additional freight trains and earn additional revenue.

  • A pilot optimization exercise was conducted by the Transformation Cell of Railway Board, with the active participation of all the zonal railways.

  • The massive amount of money saved by the national transporter and the new revenue earned, hauling goods, should bolster the Railway’s income

Background

  • Passenger train scheduling is an ever-changing process, as train schedules, new trains, and traction changes due to the ongoing electrification, affect timetabling.

  • Railways Ministry, in this year’s budget, had green flagged the implementation of this project to institutionalize this process of locomotive link optimization using decision support system software.

  • Appointed the Centre for Railway Information Systems (CRIS) to implement it.

What is Cyclic Scheduling?

  • A cyclic scheduling problem is a scheduling problem in which some set of activities is to be repeated an indefinite number of times.

  • Cyclic scheduling problems arise in domains such as manufacturing, time-sharing of processors in embedded systems, and in compilers for scheduling loop operations for parallel or pipelined architectures.

What is a Decision Support System?

  • A decision support system (DSS) is an information system that supports business or organizational decision-making activities.

  • DSSs serves the management, operations, and planning levels of an organization (usually mid and higher management).

  • DSS helps people make decisions about problems that may be rapidly changing and not easily specified in advance—i. e. unstructured and semi-structured decision problems.

  • Decision support systems can be either fully computerized or human-powered, or a combination of both.

- Published/Last Modified on: June 30, 2018

Policy/Governance, Economy

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