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Railway and Metro Rail Operations Management

Railway operations provide for a fascinating range of issues to work on.  Indian Railways has provided a very rich arena for interesting areas of work, including timetabling, capacity estimation, rolling stock management and crew planning.  In recent years, metro rail services also provide some similar interesting areas to work in.  Being from Mumbai, suburban rail in the city is naturally of special interest.

My faculty collaborator in this area is Prof Madhu Belur from Electrical Engineering, IIT Bombay.  A link to recent work in this area is maintained by him, at which has more details of work related to timetabling and capacity planning.  The work in this area has been with a large number of master's and doctoral students and project staff, over the years.

Current railway work is mainly with Prof Madhu Belur (Electrical Engineering, IIT Bombay) and external collaborators, including former post-doctoral fellow in IEOR, Dr K.P.Anoop, who is now with NIT Calicut.  More details on collaborators is below.

Work with Delhi Metro Rail Corporation is in the area of Line Planning, Timetabling and Crew planning. 

A big project that we were involved with in 2020-2021, with some follow up work in 2023, was with Indian Railways, in providing simulation based support for timetabling of passenger services on an important part of their network, the Golden Quadrilateral and Diagonals (GQD) - comprising the network between New Delhi - Howrah - Chennai - Mumbai, including the diagonals.  The work also included planning of maintenance blocks and freight corridors on this network.


Railway collaborators from Indian Railways over many years have been K.N.Singh and R.Gopalakrishnan, and retired railway officers M.Ravibabu and R.Badrinarayan.  An article I wrote in May 2020 about my long assocation with the Railways and in particular with the cadre of Indian Railways Traffic Service (IRTS) is here.  My sabbatical leave with Railway Staff College in 2000 and 2001 was facilitated by A.K.Srivastava, now retired from the IRTS.

A long time mentor has been Prof G.Raghuram, who was at IIM Ahmedabad and then IIM Bangalore.  More recently, Dr Siddhartha SenGupta and his colleagues from TCS (including Dr Shripad Salsingikar) have had a strong association with our railway activities.

Collaboration in Railway Operations and Public Transport planning are ongoing with the group of Anita Schöbel, who was earlier at the University of Göttingen, Germany and is now with University of Kaiserslautern-Landau (Rhineland Palatinate), Germany - formerly TU Kaiserslautern.

Earlier work

Recent projects and efforts have been with Central Railways (suburban timetabling - with many students and management of rolling stock for long distance services - with doctoral student Swapnesh Subramanian), Western Railways (crew planning), RDSO (Lucknow) and TCS (Mumbai).  Crew planning for suburban services on Western Railway was done by M.Tech students Naman Kasliwal and S. Sudarshan, and crew planning for Mumbai division of Central Railway by M.Tech student Akshat Bansal.

A workshop was held on 21 June, 2019, on Suburban Rail Operations Planning, which was attended by Railway personnel from Central, Western, South Central, Southern, South Eastern and Eastern Railways and also Delhi and Bengaluru Metro Corporation.  The link to the workshop is at 

Earlier work was with RITES (Gurgaon) on analysis of the Mughalsarai Ghaziabad section of North Central Railway (with Madhu Belur), and earlier with Abhiram Ranade (Computer Science and Engineering) on Western Railway (Mumbai) on signal respacing,

A decision support system for managing the rolling stock for petroleum rakes on Indian Railways was developed by M.Tech student Vishal Rewari, with the active participation and support of the Directorate of Petroleum Movement on Indian Railways.  This was continued by students Sai Muni Teja and Abhirath Sharma.

Some links to earlier and ongoing work are below

  • Line Capacity Simulator, now being developed with Madhu Belur.  Many earlier students and project staff have contributed to this work, including Devendra Shelar, Soumya Dutta, Aayush Aggarwal, Anuj Sahu, Vipin Maurya, R.Vidyadhar, Peeyush Gupta, Ayush Agrawal, Abhishek Singh and Keshav Singh.
  • Timetabling for suburban railway operations, now being developed with Anurag Agarwal, Soumya Dutta and Madhu Belur.  Earlier students who have worked on this include Shashank Dangayach.
  • Modeling of nodes and terminal railway yards and stations, is being done as part of doctoral work of Shripad Salsingikar.  Former students Deepak Miglani, Sudhanshu Jha and Ashish Dogra have contributed to this work.
  • Rolling stock management for freight operations is part of the doctoral research of Tejas Ghorpade
  • Modeling the impact of terminal movements in timetabling and control of trains, is a joint project with the group of Anita Schöbel in Germany, with Sebastian Albert and Julius Pätzold.
  • A concept note on Railway Timetabling, with Madhu Belur, was completed for Niti Aayog.

Older work and writings

  • Rake Management System for suburban operations
  • Rake linking for long distance train services
  • "An analysis of cyclic timetables for suburban railway services", published in Abhivyakti, journal of the Railway Staff College, Vadodara. (PDF Link)
  • "A study of ticketing processes on Indian Railways", done in association with Shobhit Bhatnagar, Railway Staff College, Vadodara.
  • Capacity management in long distance passenger trains on Indian Railways, with R. Gopalakrishnan, Western Railway
  • Rescheduling of trains in the presence of planned disruptions - doctoral work of L. Sundaravalli

Earlier faculty associates in my railway projects were Prof A.Ranade, Prof M.Sohoni and  Prof Kannan Moudgalya.

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