ACO Applied to Switch Engine Scheduling in a Railroad Yard
This reasearch studies ACO algorithms for the switch engine scheduling in a Railroad Yard. The cars are moved individually or grouped into blocks by a set of locomotives called switch engines which are dedicated to moving around the cars in the yard. The need for moving comes from the fact that the arriving trains are disassembled into blocks of cars, undergo some operations like, loading, unloading and cleaning and finally are assembled into a new train. Each moving request is called a switch order. The decision of which switch engine will execute which switch order and the sequence of that executution is the core of our problem. The optimization of this schedule reduces the overall operational costs of the yard as weel as the time to assemble new trains, thus leading to a more productive railroad system.