We consider a problem from the context of energy-efficient underground railway timetabling, in which an existing timetable draft is improved by slightly changing departure and running times. In practice, synchronization between accelerating and braking trains to utilize regenerative braking plays a major role for the energy-efficiency of a timetable. Since deviations from a planned timetable may lead to unnecessarily high energy consumption during actual operation, we include operational uncertainties in our model to create a timetable that remains energy-efficient, even if deviations from the nominal timetable occur. To solve the problem we use a scenario expansion model in conjunction with a Benders decomposition approach. As an alternative to solving the Benders subproblems we present a heuristic sparse cut that can be computed efficiently. The resulting sparse-cut heuristic produces high-quality solutions on a set of real-world instances stemming from the Nürnberg underground system, outperforming the integrated mixed-integer programming approach as well as the basic Benders approach. Additionally, we evaluate two static recovery strategies—shortening dwell times as well as shortening dwell and running times—to determine the cost and benefit of handling delays using a simple static rule. In our experiments, we are able to reduce the energy consumption by up to 8.8 % and confirm that delay recovery via shortening dwell times is an energy-efficient and effective way to increase punctuality at low cost in terms of energy.

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View A Stochastic Optimization Approach to Energy-Efficient Underground Timetabling under Uncertain Dwell and Running Times