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Timetable Redesign for Smart Capacity Management

Incomplete harmonisation of existing, non-market-friendly, timetabling procedures between European countries complicates efficient rail capacity management. In addition, these procedures are rarely in line with what the market needs. To remedy this, RailNetEurope (RNE) and Forum Train Europe (FTE) want to change these procedures and work together to improve the international timetable planning process.  Thus, the two organisations launched the TTR project in 2015, with the support of the European Rail Freight Association (ERFA).

To meet this challenge, the TTR project team - consisting of experts from the market, timetables, operations, IT and legal fields, recruited from all stakeholders (RUs, IMs, supporting companies) - sought the views of the market. The market expressed the following needs:

  • Flexibility, especially in the freight sector
  • Possibility for earlier commercial use of paths, e.g. earlier ticket sales
  • Reduction of peak loads and redundant work
  • Higher stability and quality of timetables

Based on this input, the infrastructure managers and the railway undertakings then started to define the possible approaches. After several years of planning within the framework of the TTR project, the timetable finally took the form of an innovative and market-oriented process, based on pre-planning and on processes adapted to the needs of different market segments.

The different process steps can be visualised as follows:

TTR Pilot project Amsterdam-Brussels

Infrabel and Prorail have jointly started a TTR Pilot Project, which will cover the lines between Amsterdam and Brussels from 2022 onwards. This project is being carried out in cooperation with RNE, FTE, Rail Freight Corridor North Sea - Mediterranean and the concerned RUs.

The goal of this project is to test, adapt and gradually implement elements of the TTR process, based on a capacity model and a harmonised international supply.

All specific features of the pilot project are described in the Information Document, which can be found on the portal.

The most important impact for applicants at this stage can be described as follows:

  • The drafting of a Capacity Supply describing in detail the intended capacity availability for passenger and freight traffic.
  • International capacity requests should be requested via PCS, including various tests with the new TTR timelines for passenger and freight traffic
  • The TCR coordination and linked path alteration procedures are optimised

The pilot Capacity Supply can be consulted via the ECMT tool. The goal is that the ECMT tool evolves into a tool which can visualise the available capacity on the European network in a dynamic way, at each point during the timetable process.

For more information, please contact the Pilot Manager Thomas Vanbeveren (see contact details below – also the National Implementation Manager for Infrabel).

Thomas VANBEVEREN
TTR National Implementation Manager Belgium
Project Leader TTR pilot Amsterdam-Brussels
I-CBE.3
T    + 32 2 432 28 08
M   +32 492 91 49 76
E    thomasgerd.vanbeveren@infrabel.be

TTR@Infrabel

In December 2020, the Infrabel Executive Committee agreed on the gradual implementation of the TTR process, in line with the milestone plan defined and continuously refined via RailNetEurope. This plan foresees in a partial implementation of the TTR process from timetable 2025. To achieve this, Infrabel has set up a project structure.

The gradual implementation of the TTR process is aligned with the availability of new IT solutions and the adjusted legal framework. This means that the scope of implementation needs to be refined annually to align with the changing framework.

Currently, the following implementation steps are scheduled for timetable 2025, which Infrabel will implement on part of the network:

The first step has been taken with the publication of the TTR@Infrabel Capacity Strategy for timetable 2025. This includes the most important international routes towards the Netherlands, Germany and Luxembourg. This document can be found here. As this first version is mainly a learning experience, we would appreciate to receive your feedback on the document (structure and content), before the end of August via our national implementation manager.

The second step will be the preparation of a Capacity Model for Timetable 2025, with a smaller geographical scope.  High and major TCRs will be visualised and an optimal differentiation between traffic type volumes (passenger/freight/other) will become clear. We are currently exploring with RNE the possibility to test the new module for the announcement of international capacity needs in order to structure the input of applicants in this phase. More information will follow after the summer.

The third step will be the publication of the Capacity Supply, in which the volumes proposed in the capacity model will be presented in detail through proposed catalogue paths.

Infrabel remains committed to the development and deployment of TTR.  We will keep you informed of the various stages of implementation. For all your questions, please contact our national implementation manager.

For more information