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.

Practical in Practice- the new Pre-& Post- Run activities make SOB’s everyday’s work easier

Pre- & Post- Run activities are inseparably linked to a train run and so they were integrated in the model since RailOpt’s initial concept. Nevertheless, the possibility for flexible planning of these activities in while considering all involved resources is still a feature unique to Qnamic’s planning & dispatching solution. With the release of RailOpt 6.9, we took this functionality a step further: with a redesigned interface and enhanced data structures, we were able to improve the user-friendliness, improve the potential for optimization & automatization and significantly reduce the potential for human error.

These new Pre- & Post- Run activies have now gone into production for the long- standing RailOpt users of the Schweizerische Südostbahn AG (SOB) and other organizations. The planners & dispatchers have now provided the initial verdict: Urs Oberholzer, head of Service & Quality in transport with SOB, emphasizes that SOB’s planners are very pleased with the new enhancement. Especially for train drivers, the even more detailed service plan was a substantial improvement: A concise table shows the process of the Pre- & Post- Rund activities in exact details. It presents the tasks at hand even more granularly and with even greater clarity than the previous implementation.

The enhancement simplifies adding or removing individual steps of the process. The dispatcher has the opportunity to adapt the process to the given situation quickly and directly at any time. All changes are adopted in the gantt- chart immediately and mobile solution immediately, making the communication between the personell more transparent. For Urs Oberholzer this means specifically that reliability has improved further and human mistakes are prevented.

Because the planning of Pre- & Post- Run activities is a very complex task on the one hand, but a common one on the other hand, we improved the function for creating templates significantly. The new data model offers completely new options for automation of tasks that previously had to be planned manually, Oberholzer says. This statement corresponds with our testing results: Testers created complex process structures three times faster, with a lower error rate compared to the previous implementation.

With release 6.9 now in production: Practice confirms what the tests promised and what our team hoped for while planning the new Pre- & Post- Run activities: the functionality reduces complexity, frees up resources and supports train drivers and dispatchers. All in all, the enhancement improves reliability and therefore the safety and robustness of rail traffic.

Please contact us for further information!


TR Trans Rail AG has successfully introduced RailOpt

On 7 January 2020 we started with the first RailOpt training. Within a short time, our six-member team was introduced to the new RailOpt scheduling program, which has been replacing our old scheduling program (Disporail) step by step since 1 January 2020. Qnamic’s new solution makes our daily work easier and guarantees compliance with current regulations (BAV/AZG).

In order to be able to work with the new system on the rails as well, we started with the introduction of RailOpt WEB on 1 April 2020. This web application is the interface between personnel and planning and facilitates communication between production and engineers. Route knowledge, working time accounts, qualifications and all documents relevant to external operations are managed and controlled via the platform.

Since April 2020, the first test runs have been carried out with the DIS information system, which is integrated into the RailOpt WEB application. (program analogous to LEA SBB). All train drivers will be informed as soon as it is ready for operation and the platform contains all relevant information for the outside operation. In other words: You are up to date at a glance!

The training was a complete success thanks to the professional introduction by Qnamic. During the 10 days of training we were able to create a good basis, which can be expanded in the future via telephone support.  We are looking forward to further cooperation with Qnamic.

Monika Linder, Dispatch/Production | TR Trans Rail AG
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