Bottlenecks in the European Railway Infrastructure



Bottlenecks in the European Railway Infrastructure

Authors

ROTHENGATTER W, University of Karlsruhe, Germany

Description

Bottlenecks in railway networks are in most cases characterised by technical capacity measures. The theoretical capacity is defined to be the maximal number of trains which can be operated on an railway link. This measure is depending on a number of facto

Abstract

Bottlenecks in railway networks are in most cases characterised by technical capacity measures. The theoretical capacity is defined to be the maximal number of trains which can be operated on an railway link. This measure is depending on a number of factors such as the type of trains, the speeds, the mix of trains as well as the operation and scheduling systems. Theoretical models based on queuing theory are available but cannot be implemented on the European scale yet. Therefore simple pragmatic roles are chosen to define the practical capacity, which denotes the maximal number of trains on a link which can be operated without unacceptable delays. This measure can be calibrated using the experiences of national railway companies or the UIC. In this paper the technical capacity will be shown as a not sufficient measure to identify the major deficiencies in railway networks. Much more important than technical bottlenecks are insufficient levels of service of the railways. This is the main reason why the companies are not abel to compete successfully on the markets for passenger and freight transport. Thus this paper emphasises on so called level-of-service (LOS) bottlenecks. Indicators for LOS bottlenecks are derived from a European railway network model which includes the UIC data base. A link oriented bottom-up and an OD oriented top-down approach are presented. All indicators defined are quantified using the established European railway network model. It turns out that the situation of the railways looks much worse if LOS indicators are used instead of technical capacity measures.

Environmental effects can create bottlenecks which may have as well negative as positive impacts on the railways. If the environmental capacity of a region is exceeded, arise arise to extend the operation on the railway tracks or to extend capacity. In any case new investments will have to overcome environmental barriers which usually leads to extremely high investment costs. The same will be the case with the road network. In the case of road bottlenecks an extension of the road capacity may be infeasible or even more expensive than railway investments because of environmental protection. Therefore a careful analysis of environmental hot spots, as it will turn out in the paper, can help to identify sustainable measures to remove bottlenecks.

Publisher

Association for European Transport