Empty Railcar Distribution
Handbook of Operations Research Applications at Railroads
Each year in North America, approximately 30 million carloads are shipped via rail in “general merchandise” or carload service (AAR 2012). In each case, the railroad must deliver a rail-owned empty railcar (such as a box car, gondola, or hopper depending on the commodity) to the origin of the shipper to begin loading. (This process does not apply to private fleets owned and managed by the shipper, as is common for some car types such as tank cars.) After the loaded railcar is delivered to the shipper’s destination and emptied, the rail car is released back to the railroad's custody, and the cycle begins again. The challenge of repositioning a multitude of rail-owned railcars to various origins is known as the empty railcar distribution problem.
Copyright © 2015, Springer
Place of Publication
New York, NY
Gorman, Michael F., "Empty Railcar Distribution" (2015). MIS/OM/DS Faculty Publications. 28.