The Power of TrainOps


TrainOps Applications


Ease of Use


Case Histories


TrainOps supports a wide range of analyses, ranging from conceptual planning exercises to detailed engineering design work. Popular TrainOps applications in the planning and design areas are described below. 

Procuring the Right Rolling Stock  

What’s the optimal trade-off of train weight and power? Can the rolling stock under consideration satisfy the advertised trip time?  What happens if an additional coach is added to a locomotive-hauled train?  TrainOps’ comprehensive rolling stock library and user flexibility in creating and editing new rolling stock models support these analyses.

/uploadedImages/LTK/Software_Tools/01 Rolling Stock-20110623.jpg

TrainOps features detailed rolling stock libraries (as well as the ability to add customized models), organized into locomotive, multiple unit, freight car and passenger coach categories.

Optimizing Adhesion and Power/Weight Ratios  

Heavy haul freight networks optimize their operating consists by tailoring power/weight ratios to specific alignments. Often done using “rules of thumb”, TrainOps offers a more sophisticated approach. With detailed modeling of adhesion, rail gradient (vertical profile), curvature (horizontal alignment) and distributed train length algorithms, TrainOps can determine if a train has the right power/weight ratio to ascend that ruling grade and to make that advertised trip time.

/uploadedImages/LTK/Software_Tools/02 struggling train-20110623.jpg

The green velocity trace shows a simulated TrainOps train struggling to maintain speed on an ascending grade. 

Going Green in Rail Transport  

Regenerative braking – returning electrical energy to the rail power distribution system or even back to the supplying utility – offers tremendous opportunities for electrified rail networks to “go green”. How can system and vehicle characteristics be optimized to maximize the electrical energy being returned to the system through braking? What about a mix of regenerative braking-equipped and non-equipped trains?  What about wayside energy storage devices that can enhance the percentage of braking energy that is effectively captured?  TrainOps’ sophisticated algorithms support the optimization process to reduce the carbon footprint of electrified rail networks and optimize their energy saving and energy recovery characteristics.

/uploadedImages/LTK/Software_Tools/03 System Energy-20110623.jpg

TrainOps’ computation of energy supply and consumption by category is updated dynamically during simulation.  The dark red shows energy supplied by the utility and the light red shows energy productively recovered through regenerative braking.

Optimizing New Rail Alignments and Layouts  

For new systems and system extensions, the planning process can produce an overwhelming number of alignment alternatives. Which produces the best trip time and most energy-efficient operation?  TrainOps’ rapid modeling capabilities, including the ability to import alignment information from external data sources, allow fast turn-around in simulating all of the alternatives.

/uploadedImages/LTK/Software_Tools/04 next gen 2050-20110623.jpg

Very high speed rail simulation showing maximum authorized speed (red), simulated velocity (green) and trip time (blue).  

Developing Integrated Operating Plans  

“Mixed-use corridor” is an increasingly common term as rail lines that once handled only freight service grow to accommodate commuter rail and high speed intercity rail services. With support for multiple train types, train consists, train classes and class-specific speed restrictions, TrainOps supports the development and optimization of integrated operating plans. These plans accommodate the disparate requirements of all rail operators on mixed-use corridors. TrainOps’ comprehensive modeling capability captures train interaction on both the mainline (where line capacity is a precious commodity) and at terminals (where “throat” interlocking and station tracks are precious commodities).

/uploadedImages/LTK/Software_Tools/05 AC station occ-20110623.jpg

Terminal track occupancy diagram showing simulated times (above the line) and scheduled times (below the line) with train classes distinguished by color.

Analyzing Existing and Proposed Operating Plans  

TrainOps supports the assessment of future operating plans in terms of on-time performance predictions, energy usage, rolling stock requirements, and the ability of the traction power system to support the proposed train level under “normal” and “contingency” operations.

/uploadedImages/LTK/Software_Tools/06 string chart-20110623.jpg

Time-Distance (“string”) chart showing TrainOps’ simulated operation of commuter rail trains on a largely single track corridor.

Producing Cost-Effective Traction Power Designs  

For new and expanding systems, TrainOps supports the detailed analyses needed to generate the most cost-effective designs, while ensuring operability under normal and contingency (degraded) conditions. Outputs include substation instantaneous, peak, and average power flows, with average statistics available over various user-selected time intervals (for comparison with “nameplate ratings” of the planned traction power system components). Other TrainOps outputs supporting the traction power design process include:

  • Substation instantaneous voltage and current,
  • Substation peak average and peak RMS currents for user-selected time intervals,
  • Feeder RMS currents,
  • Running rail voltage rise (“touch potential”) with respect to ground and stray currents.

/uploadedImages/LTK/Software_Tools/09 SRTD Substation RMS-20110623.jpg 

Peak and RMS currents shown for each substation in the system, along with 100% nameplate ratings, allow visual confirmation that all substations are properly sized for a new or reconfigured network. 

Providing a Competitive Edge when Negotiating Electricity Tariffs

Negotiating electricity tariffs requires the sophisticated “what if?” capabilities of TrainOps to ensure a successful outcome. TrainOps’ outputs include consumption and peak demand for each supply point (substation connection or rail network transmission system supply point) in the system. Should coincident demand charges (the collective demand of all substations) be considered?  What about demand versus consumption charge trade-offs? How much energy will be regenerated and returned to the utility (and where)? If multiple utilities are supplying the rail network, how are demands distributed among the utilities?  How can demand be shifted to the utility with the most attractive tariff structure?  TrainOps can answer these questions for current and future operations in support of the best possible tariff for the rail network.

/uploadedImages/LTK/Software_Tools/08 SRTD Total Power-20110623.jpg

TrainOps dynamic (while the simulation runs) display of system-wide power demand (black) with 15-minute running average power demand for utility tariff computations (red).

Supporting the Alternatives Analysis and Environmental Impact Statement Process

Alternative Analyses and Environmental Impact Statements need detailed train operations information. TrainOps supports these wide-ranging analytical needs, including outputs that can support:

  • Operations and maintenance cost models,
  • Noise and vibration studies,
  • Rail-highway at-grade crossing gate down time predictions for vehicular traffic studies,
  • Energy usage analyses,
  • Fossil fuel emissions levels,
  • “Before” and “after” trip time and throughput generation for ridership modeling purposes.
Solving Traction Power Performance Issues  

Traction power systems designed and constructed years ago may warrant upgrading, but what is the most cost-effective capital investment plan? TrainOps modeling can determine whether existing substations, OCS/third rail and power cables are adequate or whether some enhancements are required, particularly as service is increased and new vehicles are introduced. A thorough analysis supported by TrainOps will reveal the rail system’s strengths and weaknesses, allowing for an integrated and updated new design.

TrainOps’ powerful outputs include plots of instantaneous train voltages at third rail pickup shoes/pantographs for all trains operating on a given route. This graphic yields an overlaid voltage profile along the alignment and zeros in on traction power weak spots, TrainOps supports rapid investigation of potential solutions to traction power performance issues – adding a substation, adding a tie station/circuit breaker house, changing substation “no load” voltages, upgrading the running rails, third rail/catenary or negative return system, adding a cross-bond or even altering the train schedule (headway or train length).

/uploadedImages/LTK/Software_Tools/10 SRTD Voltage Plot-20110623.jpg

TrainOps overlay of multiple trains’ voltage experience along a rail line, allowing fast identification of system locations in need of traction power reinforcement.

Understanding Train Control Operational Impacts

As train control systems become more complex, TrainOps can provide an understanding of their operational impacts – before they are placed in service. Whether a wayside, cab or wayside with cab signaling system, TrainOps can model the site-specific headway constraints enforced by the system. TrainOps also supports the analysis of Positive Train Control systems – stand-alone or overlaid on top of a conventional signaling system. The software supports different brake rates for the same train consist, depending on the type of train control system and type of enforcement.

/uploadedImages/LTK/Software_Tools/11 Caltrain string chart zoom-20110623.jpg

Time-Distance trace of trains in a network protected by Positive Train Control, with following trains (in black) delayed due to long dwell times and line capacity constraints.

/uploadedImages/LTK/Software_Tools/14 WMATA signal control lines.jpg

Convenient “point and click” control line editing allows the creation of new signal control lines and modification of existing by picking the signal location from a list or simply clicking on the TrainOps Map View.