Simulation of an Intermodal Hub Facility

Simulation of an Intermodal Hub Facility

The Challenge

In the light of significant growth rates, CSX Intermodal Terminals Inc. (CSXI), a subsidiary of CSX Corporation (CSX), which is operating one of the largest rail networks in the United States and as a whole forms the third biggest freight railway undertaking in the USA, plans to redesign existing rail terminals and to develop new terminals with hub functionality. Recently, HPC has assisted CSXI in the design planning of a new hub terminal, with the preparation of a terminal development plan. While HPC’s sophisticated spreadsheet calculation models used for that development plan already give good insights into planning details, simulation goes further as it factors in dynamic effects and stochastic influences. Thus, HPC has been asked to verify the terminal's estimated capacity, equipment requirements and the viability of the terminal design as a whole by conducting a dynamic terminal simulation study, with particular focus on the dynamic interdependencies between yard and rail operations. For that purpose, not just the terminal yard, including crane moves and stacking operations as well as truck and OTR movements are modelled in detail, but also related rail movements, including train arrivals and departures, train composition and all required shunting moves.

Tasks Performed

  • Collecting, discussing and agreeing required input parameters jointly with CSXI
  • Development of alternative train schedules and simulation scenarios
  • Implementation of integrated terminal yard and rail operations simulation model
  • Conducting simulation experiments and sensitivity analyses with implemented simulation model    
  • Analysis and operational assessment of simulation results
  • Deriving recommendations for most efficient equipment types and quantities
  • Discussion of alternative phasing strategies


  • Identified bottleneck in siding capacity
  • Developed and validated optimal yard layout
  • Optimized equipment requirements

HPC's Expertise:

United States of America

CSX Intermodal Terminals, Inc.

Financed by:

01/2015 - 08/2015

Project Team

Dr. Nils Kemme
Dr. Nils Kemme

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Carsten Eckert
Carsten Eckert

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