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Excelling at digitalization: CFL goes live with digital depot planning

Last fall, we reported that CFL, in collaboration with Qnamic, was working on a project to introduce the new shunting yard planning feature. On February 5th, the go-live took place as scheduled, and the control center staff were able to adopt the long-awaited tool into productive operation.

The introduction of the shunting yard management system marks another important step for CFL towards the complete digitalization of their operating systems. Several departments benefit from the introduction. For the planning teams, numerous Excel spreadsheets are eliminated thanks to the fully integrated solution; this makes workflows more transparent and comprehensible. The integration of the shunting yard planning board into RailOpt’s dispatching significantly eases the dispatchers’ workload. By managing the use of shunting tracks (shunting, switching operations, preparations, etc.), it also facilitates the Trains et Materiel department’s ability to prepare workshop tasks more efficiently. In all these areas, stakeholders can now focus more on their core tasks.

The successful launch of the new Parking module was an important milestone for CFL in their endeavor to make processes more efficient and to relieve their staff in some activities, providing them with additional time for other tasks. However, with this step, CFL has not reached the end of their journey, and the next milestones are already in planning: In the future, dispatchers, for example, will be supported in their work by a digital track diagram that visualizes the current situation on the tracks in real-time. CFL is committed to digitalization, and we support them with equal determination!

Fall release 2023.2

We’re excited to introduce the next phase of our innovation journey and present the mid-year release update!

In a constantly changing digital landscape, it’s crucial for businesses to stay agile and keep up with the latest technological developments. Our update is designed to help you not just outpace the competition, but also maximize opportunities for your business.

  • General Planning: The clarity of planning for vehicle and personnel services has been further developed to better support planners in their work:
    • If a vehicle is scheduled while the personnel capacity is still in a file or an invalid deleted resource, this will be indicated in the traction area by a gray bar above the vehicle capacity.
    • The new display is easily accessible in the schedule options and as a button in the toolbar.
    • In vehicle planning, it is now immediately apparent whether a vehicle is in operation or not. A new feature within the scheduling board allows “gaps”, when a vehicle is in operation (for example, waiting times at a station), to be marked with gray bars, making them visible.
  • DSS: The DSS feature has seen continual enhancements this year. The automatic staff scheduling stands out as a major highlight.
    • With this new feature, services can be automatically by AI assigned to your rotation plans, streamlining your processes.
    • Efficiency improvement: The assignment of services is automated, considering all restrictions like qualifications and rest periods, which minimizes human effort.
    • Error prevention: By automating the process, human errors are completely eliminated.
    • Time savings: Manual scheduling is error-prone and takes time. Our new feature generates your workforce schedule in seconds, greatly simplifying the process for planners. They can then concentrate on more critical tasks.
    • Optimized resource utilization: The automatic personnel planning helps to optimize resources by ensuring that employees with the appropriate skills and qualifications take on the respective service.
  • The achieved progress is the result of a dedicated team effort and a vibrant user community that continuously supports us with their constructive and valuable feedback on our developments. The planning and implementation of the Spring release 2024.1 are already in full swing. We look forward to offering our users more innovative features and advancements. One focus will be on personnel qualification management.
  • We thank our users for their trust and for continuing to actively contribute to the development of our platform.

On the right track: CFL implements digital depot planning by Qnamic

The Société nationale des chemins de fer Luxembourgois (CFL) serves the very challenging, star-shaped railway hub in Luxemburg. International lines from and to Belgium, Germany and France converge here.

Rising passenger numbers and the recent service adjustment coming with them, require a massive expansion of infrastructure. In addition to the construction and commissioning of new railway stations in the recent past, the construction of a new railway line, the conversion and expansion of existing stations and the building of new shunting areas are part of the current and future modernization projects, which CFL conducts for the Luxembourgian state.

To meet the future requirements, CFL continue to invest in their rolling stock and personnel. But because of the rising volume (over 1.000 trains per day), the complexity also increases at the organizational level, especially regarding the planning & dispatching of parking & shunting.

With the new professional requirements in mind, the experts at CFL and Qnamic went to work to extend the proven planning & dispatching system RailOpt with a depot planning module in agile fashion.

Claude Marx, Abteilungsleiter des Fahrbetriebs der CFL
Claude Marx, Head of Passenger Train Operations

“Qnamic -as in the years before- proved to be a reliable & competent partner in this project. CFL puts its trust in RailOpt for the long term.”

The Qnamic team is extremely pleased with this successful cooperation and is looking forward to the implementation of the upcoming projects!

Spring Release 2023.1

As announced in the news for Release 2022.2, it was a particular concern for us to support our users in the usage of the graphic time table even better. Many of our users utilize the graphic time table actively in their daily work. Thus it is now directly accessible via the planning board with a few mouse clicks. The graphics are clearly designed, additional train information is available via single mouse click and there are plenty of marking options, which structure the the work with the planning board even further.

Because we want our users to remain flexible at all times, we gave them extensive configuration options. This way they can customize the displayed information to their needs and the current situation at any time. Overall this release focused on the further improvement of user-friendliness to support and simplify our users work in the best possible way. These improvements show in a series of small changes, which at large optimize the usability clearly and relieve the user. This is done for example by automatization of work steps like the automated creation of pre- & post- Run activities, which are needed for the new automated adjustment of the duration oft the change of personnel. The user-friendliness of the time table management has also been improved, so that routes, vehicles and driving regimes can be created and administered even more intuitively now. We added new display options to make the work with different pools more clear and simple.

After this release focused on user-friendliness, we’re striving for a big content related step in fall. With release 2023.2 DSSplus will be available to a group of super users for extensive testing. This unique Decision Support System will be able to support dispatching actively and in real time. It’s presentation at the InnoTrans in Berlin 2022 was met with great interest and it’s release is highly anticipated ever since.

RailOpt User Group 2023

On June 14. & 15. 2023 the annual User Group Meeting took place, this time in Freiburg (Breisgau). As with the previous meetings, there was ample opportunity for conversations, both on a professional and personal level.

On the first day of the event, especially the presentation on the progress of DSS and DSSplus was met with great interest. One of the focal points was the planning of the personnel & vehicle rotations. With this enhancement, the planning of a whole week can be achieved in under a minute. Furthermore, there were the long-desired news of DSSplus. The innovative Decision Suport System attracted much attention when it was announced at the Innotrans 2022; with the Release 2023.2, DSSplus will be available to a group of Super-Users for intensive testing.

On the second day there were fascinating talks on digitalization of communication and possible future designs for work scheduling. Here, the participants exchanged their experiences and thoughts in a constructive dialog. Toward the end of the event the universal interface ‚Route‘ and the Road Map for the fully integrated depot planning were presented: This is a unique feature, which supports the entire train parking process in an optimal way.

The Qnamic team was happy to exchange opinions with the users in a productive environment. We’re already looking forward to next year’s event!

Solving problems efficiently with Disruption Management

Dispatchers of railway companies deal with disruptions on a daily basis. There are various types of disruptions (construction works, vehicle malfunctions, lack of personnel, track outages, etc.) and they often lead to further disruptions, making them very complex and unclear. It’s the task of dispatchers to solve these challenging problems as quickly as possible. The feature ‘Disruption Management’ by Qnamic makes the situation more clear, reduces sources of error and supports them in ensuring safe and smooth operations:

A concise planning board offers an optimal overview over the disruptions to be taken care of to the dispatcher. When opening a new disruption case, templates help with structuring and categorizing the problem. To ensure that no case gets overlooked on a busy day, every case has to be closed with a brief report before it gets removed from the planning grid.

The feature channels the attention of the dispatcher. If they suspend work on a case, the case will be paused. This way the dispatcher is always focused on the current case and keeps an overview even over a multitude of disruptions . On the flip side, multiple dispatchers can work on a single case together. Every change in a disruption case is documented so that everybody involved knows the current status. Furthermore, the documentation gives a possibility for a posterior analysis of the case.

But the tool also helps actively to resolve disruptions: In a situation where personnel is needed at short notice, it shows a clear table to the dispatcher with available and suitable personnel. By determining according parameters, the tool prevents violations of work time rules and helps the dispatcher to find an optimal solution.

Related disruptions can be connected, enabling the dispatcher to swap resources between the different cases, without assigning them several times.

The feature ‘Disruption Management’  unravels chaotic situations, makes them manageable and supports the dispatcher in finding solutions. In the process, sources of errors are prevented and circumnavigated. The comprehensive documentation allows a posterior analysis and valuation of processes and their adjustment if necessary. With this tool you can meet disruptions calmly and effectively. 

Please contact us for further information by eMail!

Hans Flury says goodbye

On February 20, 2023 Qnamic celebrated its 20th anniversary. Over such a long period many people join or leave a company. The member of the administrative board Hans Flury played an important role for Qnamic since its founding. But on February 23, 2023 Mister Flury left the company and put down his duties in the administrative board.

“I have been part of this highly innovative company and its development for 20 years and for that I’m very grateful. I really enjoyed the time but now it’s time to pass my duties to new hands. I wish the Qnamic AG great success on its further way “, said Hans Flury.

Chairman of the board Dirk Pfeiffer thanked Hans Flury and emphasized his role for the Qnamic AG once more: “Hans Flury was not only an important funding member and layed the foundation for RailOpt, but with his engagement and vision he was always an integral part of our company. Hans Flury made an important contribution for the company’s success over the years. For this I sincerly thank him in the name of the Qnamic AG!”

20 Years Qnamic!

Qnamic is turning 20 and that’s a cause for celebration! This anniversary also indicates, that our RailOpt solution is a product that is of great value for our users and is elementary part of their daily work.

For chairman of the board Dirk Pfeiffer the success originates from the uniqueness of the product:”When we started Qnamic, we had a unique proposition, being the only ones who combined simultaneous and integrated planning and dispatching of all involved resources in one software. That was a paradigm shift”, the Qnamic co-founder says.

Our users saw that and express the highest satisfaction with our product and way of working. All projects have been completed successfully. Furthermore we’re in a continuous dialogue with our users and integrate their experience and proposals in the further development of our product systematically.

Consequently we established strategic partnerships: These are a further success factor for Dirk Pfeiffer:”Our long-time partnerships with all of our users, especially with CFL & SOB, enable us to develop our product with a practical orientation and to retain and even extend our market leadership.”

The constant development of the product and the company itself is a focal point for COO Bruno Pfeiffer as well: “We gained good experiences working on research projects recently. Especially our cooperation with the OST technical college, where we were able to develop a completely new tool with DSSplus proved a success. Since Optimization is in our DNA, we will participate in such projects in the future. This way we will be able to apply latest scientific insights on the challenges surrounding dispatching.”

Qnamic’s journey is far from over. We thank all our long-term users, partners and our committed employees, who have accompanied us so far. We’re looking forward to continuing our work with you in the future!

RailOpt – the Ideal Solution for TX Switzerland

As a subsidiary of the TX Logistik AG, which moves 8.6 b. tonne-kilometres on 22.000 trains per year, the TXLOGISTIK Switzerland GmbH does its part to ensure the performance of European supply-chains. The company’s manager Detlef Bartsch searched for a mature resource management system and a reliable partner to help achieve this essential task. “We needed a quick, mature solution that meets the high standards of Swiss rail traffic. It was important to us, that we would cooperate with a company that has a lot of experience in this sector and a deep understanding of the processes of railway companies”, said Bartsch.

With RailOpt and Qnamic, TX Switzerland found both: after a short but intensive introduction phase, our consultants were able to put the software into full production within 4 days. The flexibility of the solution and the practical experience of all project members were critical for the quick implementation, said Bartsch.

Since mid-December RailOpt supports TX with moving cargo economically and sustainably all over Europe.

RailOpt R2022.2

After the qnamic team implemented some fundamental technical and functional changes for RailOpt with R6.9, Release 2022.2 was more about finetuning. We’d like to introduce two highlights of the many adjustments:

  • Labor Law Enhancements:

We added new work time rules to the existing ones. Together with adjustments in the configurations, we made it easier to monitor the compliance to working time regulations.

  • New work time rules issue a conflict notification, if a false type of break is planned for a service.
  • Violations of working time arrangements due to subsequent changes of working times by employees are shown immediately.
  • New work time rules support planners by checking the compliance to the rules of planning successive long night shifts.
  • Another new rule supports optimal distribution of working time over employees by minimizing their effective working time (without surcharges) including sideline activities.
  • Dispatching & short term planning: The multiple allocation of a vehicle to frameworks is denied and ruled out as a source of error in planning.
  • A new table now shows vehicle, vehicle pool and logical vehicle clearly. With a new filter already planned vehicles can be hidden.
  • If a vehicle is nevertheless scheduled several times in the terms of short term planning, a conflict notification will be issued.
  • A newly introduced symbol shows clearly to the dispatcher on the planning grid, if an allocation of a vehicle was removed and thus the vehicle is available again.

Since we’re constantly improving our product for and with our users, the preparations for the spring release 2023 are going on at full speed. A Highlight for 2023.1 will be extension of the graphic time tables: many of our users use this function very actively in their daily work, it now will be accessible via the planning board.

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