Solving a Freight Railcar Flow Problem Arising in Russia

Ruslan Sadykov 1 Alexander Lazarev 2 Vitaliy Shiryaev 3 Alexey Stratonnikov 3
1 Realopt - Reformulations based algorithms for Combinatorial Optimization
LaBRI - Laboratoire Bordelais de Recherche en Informatique, IMB - Institut de Mathématiques de Bordeaux, Inria Bordeaux - Sud-Ouest
Abstract : We consider a variant of the freight railcar flow problem. In this problem, we need 1) to chose a set of transportation demands between stations in a railroad network, and 2) to fulfill these demands by appropriately routing the set of available railcars, while maximizing the total profit. We formulate this problem as a multi-commodity flow problem in a large space-time graph. Three approaches are proposed to solve the Linear Programming relaxation of this formulation: direct solution by an LP solver, a column generation approach based on the path reformulation, and a "column generation for extended formulations" approach. In the latter, the multi-commodity flow formulation is solved iteratively by dynamic generation of arc flow variables. Three approaches have been tested on a set of real-life instances provided by one of the largest freight rail transportation companies in Russia. Instances with up to 10 millions of arc flow variables were solved within minutes of computational time.
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Ruslan Sadykov, Alexander Lazarev, Vitaliy Shiryaev, Alexey Stratonnikov. Solving a Freight Railcar Flow Problem Arising in Russia. ATMOS - 13th Workshop on Algorithmic Approaches for Transportation Modelling, Optimization, and Systems - 2013, Sep 2013, Sophia Antipolis, France. ⟨10.4230/OASIcs.ATMOS.2013.55⟩. ⟨hal-00857914⟩

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