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Improved Empty Freight Car Distribution


  • Kaj Holmberg

    (Department of Mathematics, Linköping University, S-58183 Linköping, Sweden)

  • Martin Joborn

    (Department of Mathematics, Linköping University, S-58183 Linköping, Sweden)

  • Jan T. Lundgren

    (Department of Mathematics, Linköping University, S-58183 Linköping, Sweden)


In this paper we consider the problem of distributing empty freight cars in a railway company. We describe and analyze the current planning process, identify the shortcomings of the process, and stress the importance of a reliable distribution process for satisfying customer demand and reducing capital costs. We show how the process can be improved using an optimization model which includes capacity constraints on the trains and adheres explicitly to the arrival and departure times of the trains. The optimization model can be characterized as a multicommodity network flow model with integer requirements. Computational tests show that the model can be solved in acceptable time for real size problems, and indicate that the model generates distribution plans that can improve the quality of the planning process.

Suggested Citation

  • Kaj Holmberg & Martin Joborn & Jan T. Lundgren, 1998. "Improved Empty Freight Car Distribution," Transportation Science, INFORMS, vol. 32(2), pages 163-173, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:inm:ortrsc:v:32:y:1998:i:2:p:163-173

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    3. repec:spr:annopr:v:253:y:2017:i:2:d:10.1007_s10479-016-2259-4 is not listed on IDEAS

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