This thesis is about mathematical optimization for the efficient use of railway infrastructure. We address the optimal allocation of the available railway track capacity - the track allocation problem. This track allocation problem is a major challenge for a railway company, independent of whether a free market, a private monopoly, or a public monopoly is given.
Planning and operating railway transportation systems is extremely hard due to the combinatorial complexity of the underlying discrete optimization problems, the technical intricacies, and the immense sizes of the problem instances. Mathematical models and optimization techniques can result in huge gains for both railway customers and operators, e.g., in terms of cost reductions or service quality improvements. We tackle this challenge by developing novel mathematical models and associated innovative algorithmic solution methods for large scale instances.
This allows us to produce for the first time reliable solutions for a real world instance, i.e., the Simplon corridor in Switzerland.