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  • By Tony Waller
  • In Blog
  • Posted 25/11/2014

The latest blog from Tony Waller looks at how WITNESS has been used in Spain by Dr. Alicia García-Hernández to model a Railroad Container Terminal

In my visit to Madrid last month it was my good fortune to meet Dr. Alicia García-Hernández from the Universidad Carlos III De Madrid.

Her accomplished WITNESS modelling is plain to see from her published work and she was kind enough to share her most recent WITNESS model in her specialist area of Railroad infrastructure – this time a model of a Railroad Container Terminal.

The model has been constructed generically to allow specification of a wide range of different railroad container terminal layouts and provide results to support strategic and tactical decisions related to the redesign of existing terminals and the planning of new terminals.

An Excel interface allows easy configuration – essential for wide use and deployment of any model. It includes definition of:

  • Location, functions, layout, infrastructure and resources.
  • Operational running options such as demand, shifts, different operational rule option.
  • Modules that can be switched on and off dependent on the type of terminal being modelled.

A WITNESS model display of a typical railroad terminal – in this example there are four tracks. Note the colour configuration of containers on the trains to illustrate size and weight.

Model features include:

  • Train arrival schedules
  • Different track and crane/gantry configurations
  • Various other trucks, other vehicles and resources involved in stacking and loading/unloading
  • Logistical movement around the site

Model results include Productivity, Service levels and Resource utilizations.

Work to date supports a wide variety of terminal configurations in Europe and Australia and is also applicable to many North American terminals which typically have more flexibility in moving containers and containing ground storage.

The flexibility in the model is to be applauded. It is always more difficult to make models generic than to model one specific facility. But the efforts here have already enabled wide use and valuable decisions to be made. Great to see good, useful WITNESS simulation to support strategic and tactical decision making.

If you are interested in discovering more about this project the please feel free to contact Dr. García-Hernández at


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