Simulating Rail Network Operation Challenges with and without the Rail Library

While the extensive rail library was a key reason that CSX chose AnyLogic as its general purpose simulation tool for the Network Modeling, Operations Research, and Process Excellence groups, the other libraries and methods have added significant value as well. In fact, the first major project where AnyLogic was used did not utilize the rail library. After reviewing the problem in more detail, a discrete-event simulation model was built to help managers studying train throughput.

The model simulated the demand of empty trains from five coal mines, as well as the fulfillment of the demand. A supply-chain-like network model was created, which implemented logic to depict the demand, supply and staging of empty trains. The trains were modeled as moving entities across the network. By varying values of relevant parameters, users can infer the impacts of different factors to the train throughput (i.e. siding staging capacity and loading speeds at the coal mines). The model provides a way for decision makers to gain insight into the system to help identify the maximum possible throughput. The objective was to identify the best operational/capital strategy to handle the increased business.

The next major modeling project did utilize the rail library to help determine the best design from eight different alternatives for rebuilding a locomotive shop. The objective was to identify the layout that maximized the throughput of locomotive processing. The different work flows were modeled using a combined method leveraging the rail library to model the locomotive movements. Development of this model is currently nearing completion.

Jeremiah Dirnberger, Manager of Network Modeling presented these cases at the AnyLogic Conference 2014 which included details on the modeling approaches for both models, a discussion of the benefits achieved, as well as brief demonstrations of the models in action. The case study, PowerPoint and video presentation are available for your review.