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Abstract

The two-level problem studied in this paper consists of optimizing the refueling costs of a fleet of locomotives over a railway network. The goal consists of determining: (1) the number of refueling trucks contracted for each yard (truck assignment problem denoted TAP), and (2) the refueling plan of each locomotive (fuel distribution problem denoted FDP). As the FDP can be solved efficiently with existing methods, the focus is put on the TAP only. In a first version of the problem (denoted (P1)), various linear costs (e.g., fuel, fixed cost associated with each refueling, weekly operating costs of trucks) have to be minimized while satisfying a set of constraints (e.g., limited capacities of the locomotives and the trucks). In contrast with the existing literature on this problem, two types of nonlinear cost components will also be considered, based on the following ideas: (1) if several trucks from the same fuel supplier are contracted for the same yard, the supplier is likely to propose discounted prices for that yard (problem (P2)); (2) if a train stops too often on its route, a penalty is incurred, which represents the dissatisfaction of the clients (problem (P3)). Even if exact methods based on a MILP formulation are available for (P1), they are not appropriate anymore to tackle (P2) and (P3). Various methods are proposed for the TAP: a descent local search, a tabu search, and al earning tabu search (LTS). The latter is a new type of local search algorithm. It involves a learning process relying on a trail system, and it can be applied to any combinatorial optimization problem. Results are reported and discussed for a large set of instances (for (P1), (P2) and (P3)), and show the good performance of LTS.

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