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Planning Capacity Improvements in the Chicago – Milwaukee – Madison Rail Corridor Using the Rail Traffic Controller (RTC) Rail Operations Simulation Model

[+] Author Affiliations
Alan Tobias

HNTB Corporation, Chicago, IL

David House

HNTB Corporation, Chelmsford, MA

Randy Wade

HNTB Corporation, Madison, WI

Paper No. JRC2010-36092, pp. 297-305; 9 pages
  • 2010 Joint Rail Conference
  • 2010 Joint Rail Conference, Volume 2
  • Urbana, Illinois, USA, April 27–29, 2010
  • Conference Sponsors: Rail Transportation Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4907-1 | eISBN: 978-0-7918-3867-9
  • Copyright © 2010 by ASME


The Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) contracted HNTB Corporation (HNTB) to utilize the Rail Traffic Controller™ (RTC™) computer simulation software developed by Berkeley Simulation Software to analyze the rail capacity requirements for high speed (110 mph maximum) Chicago to Milwaukee to Madison passenger rail service. The purpose of this study was to determine whether sufficient capacity exists in the corridor to accommodate the projected growth in intercity passenger rail service as well as growth in freight and commuter rail service. Where capacity constraints were identified, the model was also used to evaluate the benefits of proposed infrastructure improvements. HNTB and WisDOT worked with Illinois DOT, the Canadian Pacific Railway, Metra and Amtrak to identify and test rail improvements that will provide sufficient capacity for projected future high speed, commuter and freight rail services in the corridor. The modeling results are shown through string lines and tables comparing the impacts of each case on the performance of each type of train. Metrics used include: • Average speeds. • Delay minutes per 100 miles. • On Time Performance (for passenger trains). RTC is a very useful tool for the simulation of current and proposed rail operations. It has helped identify bottlenecks and analyze the effectiveness of proposed improvements. The model results from this study are a critical component in WisDOT’s negotiations with CP over the extent and location of capacity improvements for high speed operations. The RTC model output also supported WisDOT’s application for federal stimulus funding for the corridor improvements.

Copyright © 2010 by ASME



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