1 In this paper we present an optimization based technique to allocate time windows for railroad track maintenance in order to minimize the impact on train circulation. The hypothesis is that it is possible to reduce the impact on train circulation if track maintenance slots are scheduled in naturally occurring gaps on the circulation, instead of just using a decision making process that does not take the train circulation into consideration.
The proposed solution uses simulated annealing as the basis for the algorithm and yields promising results when a random initial placement of track blocks is used. We show the results of our experiments that consider as restrictions the earliest initial time for the track block and the latest termination time for the track blocks (to account for restriction in crew work hours, for example). For this work we do not restrict the number of simultaneous maintenance teams that could be working, future investigations will account for that restriction.