February 02, 2018 • 2 min read
Developing a rail network capacity model for Aurizon
How we created rail network capacity model for Aurizon's Queensland operations
Aurizon manages the railway lines that form the Queensland coal haulage network: the Newlands line to Port of Abbot Point, the Moura line to the Port of Gladstone, the Goonyella system based around the Port of Hay Point, and the Blackwater system based around the Port of Gladstone.
Aurizon needed to develop a new pit-to-port capacity model that would identify both short-term operational improvements and long-term investment opportunities and assist in managing their intricate business.
Aurizon selected us to develop a rail network capacity model, initially for its Newlands Line and Stuart Line operations, which could then be extended to cover all of Aurizon's Queensland operations.
Our consultants worked as part of an integrated Aurizon team, providing pit-to-port capacity planning using a sophisticated modeling framework. The model includes a library of configurable components that represent typical major network elements such as section track, rail yard, junctions, passing loops, and sea ports.
The highly-flexible model can be tailored to individual networks and rapidly rearranged to represent unique layout options and operating requirements, and perform simulation-based analysis of a network's throughput capabilities.
Our role also included consulting with various domain knowledge experts from Aurizon to identify modeling requirements for their diverse network elements.
We provided quick and accurate results to Aurizon – in only eight months we developed a model that was validated using existing legacy models and data sets.
Aurizon used the modeling framework to combine knowledge at different levels of abstraction and to rapidly develop pit-to-port models, considering commercial and operational effects on ports, rail yards and mines.
The model demonstrated that there are commercial and operational efficiencies to be gained in its operations. Aurizon can now confidently validate its assumptions and outputs of third party models, as well as readily identify strategies that render the greatest benefit to achieve a desired network throughput. Our modeling framework was also applied as part of a technical due diligence review of Aurizon's proposed rail operations in the Pilbara.