Network Rail and freight operators identified that 50% of the reserved slots on the railway for freight trains were not being used and could potentially be given up for thousands of new passenger and freight services.The article suggests the economies have been accomplished by running longer trains, scheduled at times the trains are likely to be filled to tonnage, and the downturn in coal, iron, and steel trains, which might be temporary, assists in freeing up paths.
his has resulted in 4,702 allocated paths (the slots a freight train has on the railway and in the timetable) per week being relinquished, freeing up capacity on the rail network, meaning they could become available for train operators to run additional services on a daily basis or re-time existing services to reduce congestion and improve reliability.
“It is important the whole rail industry works together to make best use of existing capacity, to minimise the need for additional expensive capacity enhancement schemes,” said Paul McMahon, Network Rail’s Managing Director for Freight and National Passenger Operators. “Capacity has been freed up for the whole railway but essential capacity is reserved for freight operators. This is important given the need to support the growth of freight on the network to support the economy.”
This additional capacity has cost nothing, has not led to any reductions in the number of freight trains running on the network and represents an opportunity for freight and passenger operators to increase traffic on the network without the need for expensive infrastructure enhancement schemes.I wonder what will happen if a British disciple of Hunter Harrison and his precision railroading approach comes along. "Because track and yard capacity is finite, adding more equipment creates congestion and slows down the system. While it may sound counterintuitive, reducing fleet size actually enables a railroad to move more volume. By running fewer and heavier trains, faster and on schedule, assets can be utilized far more productively and can yield significant savings." That can mean sending a train out at the scheduled time, rather than waiting for tonnage.
On occasion, trains get out of course, even with the most precise of plans, and that's when the dispatcher earns his pay.
The tools are the same, whether the scale is 1:48 or 1:1. You can't play tiddly-winks with trains.