In order to survive intermodal competition, freight trains are forced to offer their clients a high level of flexibility. However, fulfilling this promise for flexibility is associated with noteworthy financial risks due to their high fixed cost rates. Control of the oscillating level of demand engendered through this allowance for flexibility plays a significant role in the success of a freight train transporter.
One possibility of control exists in the timely anticipation of these oscillations. It is assumed that the clients possess information that would be of great use to the operational planning of a freight train. This basic hypothesis will be the subject of this study. The goal is to identify, evaluate, and utilise client knowledge for operational planning, in order to increase the productivity of railway freight transportation.
Concretely, the first step will be an investigation into the required knowledge of a freight train in making resources available. Statements will be made regarding at which points in time pieces of information are required for operational planning. For example, the usefulness of knowing a train has been cancelled one hour before scheduled departure is much lower than knowing this two weeks in advance. The next step is to identify base of knowledge the client possesses. Therefore the transport planning processes in the gravel, mineral oil, iron and steel branches should be modelled through surveys/enquiries and their essential influence factors identified. Based on the results gained, the potential of existing discovery of knowledge can be estimated. Finally, this theory should be tested under the conditions of a concrete case study.