2016 Archive

RAS Problem Solving Competition

Jump to 2016 - Integrated train timetabling and maintenance scheduling

Applying Advanced Analytics to Railroad Problems for Fun and Prizes!


The railroad operations are inherently complex/large scale and source of many challenging OR problems. This competition is designed to introduce participants to railroad problems, an exciting and challenging application area for Operations Research and Management Sciences.

Can I Publish?

Yes, you can. In fact, RAS encourages you to do so. You can reference the year specific competition URL because we will not change the URL. Anyone can use the RAS competition problem and provided datasets in their publication.

Also, The first prize winner’s contribution will be considered for publication in Networks. The paper still needs to go through the journal’s normal refereeing procedure; however, the paper will receive an expedited refereeing and publication process. More details about this journal can be found here.


This competition is intended to attract interest in the rail operations research arena. Anyone who is interested to solve railroad problems using OR tools is welcome to participate. If interested in participating, apply before the due date. Acceptance in the competition will be decided by the Judging Panel at their discretion. At least one member of each prize winning team must be available to present the team’s approach and results at the INFORMS Annual Meeting.

RAS officers and Organizing Committee Members are NOT eligible to participate. The Organizing Committee members may NOT help and guide any participating team.


Information about the 2016 edition of the RAS Problem Solving Competition is available now. If you have any suggestions or ideas for future competitions, please feel free to contact April Kuo (April.Kuo@BNSF.com) or Francesco Corman (F.Corman@tudelft.nl). All feedback is greatly appreciated.

2016 - Integrated Train Timetabling and Maintenance Scheduling

2016 RAS Problem Solving Competition announcement

Integrated train timetabling and maintenance scheduling (version updated on July 24, 2016)


1. First prize ($2000): Team 2.7.2

2. Second Prize ($1000): Team NCKU

  • I-Lin Wang, Fu-Yuan Cheng, Sih-Han Fang; National Cheng Kung University, Taiwan
  • Report_Team_NCKU

3. Third Prize ($750): Team Railsmart

Eligibility Criteria

Click here for eligibility criteria.

Important dates

May 31: Challenge published

June 30: Challenge updated

June 30: Registration deadline

July 5: Deadline for submitting a clarification question

July 20: Answer to clarification questions published, Challenge finalized

September 20: Deadline for submitting full solution

October 10: Finalists selected by judging panel

November 13: Finalist Presentation and winner announced at Informs Annual meeting


Teams of up to 3 members can participate. Every team must register. To register, please send following information to railwayapplicationssection@gmail.com

Team Name –

For each team member, provide the following:

  • Member Name, Email, Organization, Position.
  • Prior Experience in problems related to Railroad analytics (Y/N).
  • Brief statement describing what motivated you to participate.

You will receive an email confirming your team’s successful registration and eligibility.


First Prize: $2000
Second Prize: $1000
Third Prize: $750

Each team will also receive a certificate.

The first prize winner’s contribution will be considered for publication in Networks. The paper still needs to go through the journal’s normal refereeing procedure; however, the paper will receive an expedited refereeing and publication process. More details about this journal can be found here

Questions and Answers

If you have any questions about the competition problem, submit your question to railwayapplicationssection@gmail.com. In fairness to all participants, RAS will publish a Q&A on website. All participants will receive Q&A document through email as well. If there are any more questions, similar process will be repeated. The questions may be collected and answered once a week. No questions will be entertained after July 5, 2016.


E-mail all files described to railwayapplicationssection@gmail.com specifying your team’s name in the e-mail’s subject. Attach only these files: (i) the report, (ii) the solution files and (iii) a zip file (.zip) containing all supporting files.

Judging Criteria

All participating teams must submit the following by the due date.

1. A report not exceeding 10 pages (including cover page), normal margins, double spacing, font size of 10. The report must include title page describing the team members, their affiliations, clean and concise description of problem formulation, solution method, and implementation details (Software/Hardware) and results. 
2. Problem solution. Make sure you provide the solution in the prescribed format. 
3. Computer program/model.

The judging panel will select up to three finalists based on the following criteria, and the decision of the Judging Panel is final:

1. Novelty and Elegance of the Model Proposed   
2. Solution Quality
3. Solution Approach 
4. Computational Time 
5. Quality of the Report Submitted

The finalists will make a presentation at the INFORMS Annual Meeting. Aside from the previous factors, the Judging Panel will take into consideration the clarity of the presentation to make a final decision about the first, second and third places for the competition. Finally, being among the finalists and presenting at the Annual Meeting does not guarantee first, second or third place.

2016 Organizing Committee

  • Francesco Corman (Chairman, Delft University of Technology, the Netherlands)
  • Lingyun Meng (Problem owner, Beijing Jiaotong University, China)
  • Steven Harrod (Technical University of Denmark, Denmark)
  • April Kuo (BNSF, USA)
  • Bo Zou (University of Illinois at Chicago, USA)
  • Shane Wu (Amtrak, USA)
  • Edward Lin (Norfolk Southern, USA)
  • Xuesong Zhou (Ariziona State University, USA)