I’m an author or co-author of six papers and presentations at the 2017 Transportation Research Board Annual Meeting in Washington DC. Here is a list of the papers and presentations, with links for downloading several of the papers. Hope to see you in Washington!
Monday 9 January 2017
What’s a Bus? Defining Buses and Trains in the Age of Automation; Marc Sinner, ETH Zurich, Ulrich Weidmann, and Andrew Nash; Session 403, 1:30 pm, Convention Center 144-A.
Modeling Real-Time Communications-Based Train Control Operation in Mixed Traffic Networks: Simulation-Based Approach; Valerio De Martinis, ETH Zurich, Ambra Toletti, Ulrich Weidmann, and Andrew Nash; Session 471: Advances in Railroad Operating Technologies; 3:45 – 5:30 pm, Convention Center, Hall E (poster).
A Proposed Method for Measuring Customer Orientation of Companies in the Freight Transport Sector; Albert Mancera, ETH Zürich, Thorsten Klaas, Ulrich Weidmann, Andrew Nash; Session 754: Current Research in Freight Planning and Logistics; 3:45 – 5:30 pm, Convention Center, Hall E (Poster).
Banedanmark is installing ETCS on the Danish railway network. In addition to providing safety, data from the ETCS will be used in a new traffic control system (TMS) to improve the quality of railway service. Here’s a link to the article Dr. Felix Laube and I wrote about the advanced railway TMS being developed for Banedanmark. The article was just published in the Japanese railway journal: Rolling Stock & Technology (Number 231). They did a nice job including graphics from the presentation Dr. Laube made in Japan with the text.
Banedanmark, Denmark’s national railway infrastructure owner, is completely replacing the country’s railway signalling system with a European Rail Traffic Control System (ETCS). The digital data from the ETCS, combined with improved technologies for managing staff and resources, provides the foundation for developing an advanced TMS that can significantly improve railway efficiency and attractiveness.
Banedanmark’s TMS takes a fresh approach to railway operations by creating Production Plans consisting of precisely defined tasks to be carried-out in operating the railway. Production plans are developed based on a very clear definition of customer needs called Service Intentions. Banedanmark’s approach integrates planning and operations by using the same algorithms and data. It improves the precision of planning and provides updated Production Plans quickly enough to significantly reduce the impact of delays and disturbances.
I recently travelled to Brescia Italy on a business trip. I decided to take the night train since Brescia is right on the route between Vienna and Milan. My wife and I used to take the night train often between Zurich and Graz or Vienna, but it’s been a while since my last trip.
There’s lots of variation between night train services. The Italian night trains seem to be pretty spartan. On the trains between Zurich and Graz/Vienna you get breakfast and often a welcome drink, on the Italian train I just took, nothing. So be sure to bring your own snacks, water or other drinks – always good advice when traveling by train!
My trip was during the long cold spell we had at the end of January, and, unfortunately, after about an hour the sleeping car attendant realized that the heating in our car was not going to be working. So he moved us all into one of the other wagons. I had booked a single in the sleeping car and unfortunately there was only one sleeping car on the train. So I was moved into a couchette car.
Sleeping car single
There are two types of sleeping cars: a real sleeping car that has 1-3 fairly nice bunk beds and a sink in the compartment (Schlafwagen in German) or a couchette car that has 4-6 narrower bunks (with less nice bed linens: one of those sheet sacks with a blanket as opposed to a covered duvet) and no sink. There’s quite a difference in cost, but not as much as you might think. Also, note that you can usually get a couchette in a 4-person compartment or a 6-person compartment, always choose the 4-person, it’s only a little more expensive.
It was no fun to be in the couchette since the bed was only barely wide enough the lie flat and I hate the blankets/ sleeping sack arrangement, but at least it was warm. It was lucky that the train was fairly empty (a Monday night in January), so I still had a single.
We arrived on time in Brescia and I walked to my hotel where I had a wonderful breakfast and they let me check-in early, a real treat. An aside about breakfast, on the Zurich-Graz/Vienna night trains they used to give you a choice between having breakfast on the train or taking it with you (Austrian arrivals) or getting a voucher for breakfast in a restaurant in the Zurich train station. My recommendation: always get the breakfast to take with you or the voucher … you will get about a half-hour more sleep.
One more thing: in Austria when you have a sleeping car ticket you can go into the “Business Lounge” which they have in many stations. You can have a glass of wine or beer before your trip begins or breakfast (real coffee and a roll) in the morning. It’s another nice feature of traveling by sleeping car.
Vicenza station from my sleeping car bed.
I stayed one night in Brescia, and two days. The night train arrived at 7:30 am on Tuesday and I returned on the night train that left Brescia about 10:00 pm on Wednesday. The return train was nicer since the heating was working so I was able to have my single. Unfortunately, the train was delayed quite a bit (there was a snow storm), so we reached Vienna about 45-minutes late (9:20 am on Thursday).