After a major service disruption on a single-track rail line, dispatchers need to generate a series of train meet-pass plans at different decision times of the rescheduling stage. The task is to recover the impacted train schedule from the current and future disturbances and minimize the expected additional delay under different forecasted operational conditions. Based on a stochastic programming with recourse framework, this paper incorporates different probabilistic scenarios in the rolling horizon decision process to recognize (1) the input data uncertainty associated with predicted segment running times and segment recovery times and (2) the possibilities of rescheduling decisions after receiving status updates. The proposed model periodically optimizes schedules for a relatively long rolling horizon, while selecting and disseminating a robust meet-pass plan for every roll period. A multi-layer branching solution procedure is developed to systematically generate and select meet-pass plans under different stochastic scenarios. Illustrative examples and numerical experiments are used to demonstrate the importance of robust disruption handling under a dynamic and stochastic environment. In terms of expected total train delay time, our experimental results show that the robust solutions are better than the expected value-based solutions by a range of 10–30%.


Train dispatching,    Disruption handling,    Rolling horizon decision making ,    Stochastic optimization


► Recover impacted single-track train schedule from current and future disturbances.
► Find robust solutions based on a two-stage stochastic programming framework.
► Systematically construct and select meet-pass plans under different scenarios.
► Robust solutions are better than expected value-based solutions by 10–30%.

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