The railways are finally moving with the times. Hoping to improve the punctuality of services, the authorities are abandoning the practice of manually preparing timetables and have commissioned a software to prepare a timetable based on traffic volumes on different sections.
“We have appointed the German company RM Con for automatic preparation of timetable,” said the Mumbai Rail Vikas Corporation’s managing director Rakesh Saksena. “The software, called Rail Operation Simulation Program, will be very useful when 72 new rakes are added to the CR and WR fleet.” Manual preparation of timetables does not always maximize utilization of resources.
At present, WR operates 1,305 services over 125 km and CR operates 1,618 services over 300 km. Harbour line’s frequency is a train every five minutes; CR’s Main line has a service every four minutes and WR every three minutes during peak hours.
Saksena said the program will make use of all available slots. “Data is being fed into the program. We expect the automatic timetabling system to be ready by October 2013.”
The German firm will identify critical locations and factors affecting headway and operations (with respect to tracks, signals, rolling stock and traction power supply). It will help optimize “train links and list trains due for various given maintenance schedules”. Additionally, it will help prepare “platform occupation charts and crew links for timetables”. “It will help develop temporary timetables for periods such as blocks and disruptions,” said an MRVC official.